Ten Second News

Morning Ed: Labor {2018.07.30.M}( 18 )

[Lb1] Adam Ozimek argues in favor of subsidizing working. Ideologically I prefer basic income, but my experience tells me job guarantees are better when and if the time comes.

[Lb2] Not bad work if you can get it, in part because of how hard it is to lose it.

[Lb3] How American corporations smack down worker interests.

[Lb4] I hope they at least give these permits a cool name like, I don’t know, “medallion” or something.

[Lb5] Maya Salam wants women to stop volunteering to do housework at work.

[Lb6] I know this is ultimately a good thing because reliance on human labor has lead to a lot of inefficiencies in the industry and it’s easier to move things to West Dakota and West Texas than people, but it still makes me nervous even more than most automation stories because of my fondness for boomtowns.

[Lb7] For people hiring, things are just tough all over.

[Lb8] It turns out, if they’re doing work you gotta pay your employees, even if you’re Starbucks. I’m find with some flexibility in theory but in practice I’ve seen it too effortlessly abused.

[Lb9] Unemployment keeps going down but there’s still more down to go.


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Ordinary Sunday Brunch: Culture Quick Links( 3 )

Geologists have a saying – rocks remember. – Neil Armstrong


[Mu1] Been there and endorsed: No one knows how long the Native Peoples met there, but there has been music performances at one of America’s best and most unique venues since 1906, and still going strong. Just mind the steps…

[Mu2] Jazz Pianist Erroll Garner has a “lost” concert from 1964 that has been found, remastered, and released.

[Mu3] Knowing my clan’s affinity for it I’m sure you’ll find me there as well; The Sound of Music is returning to the big screen for a limited run.

[Mu4] Nick Douglas takes a shot at introducing classical music to the uninitiated. My own gateway, and what I’ve recommended to skeptics, is to try and get folks that are not that into it to experience it live.


[Ar1] Every art fan, dealer, and collector dreams of having that rare find of valuable art. This Chelsea gallery owner details what it’s like when it happens.

[Ar2] It’s satire-we distinguish since it’s been in the news this week that some folks have trouble discerning that-but The New Yorker takes on “Curated Starbucks Art”

[Ar3] “Drawn into the painting,” takes on new meaning when virtual reality can put you inside the artist studio as they create.

[Ar4] These live art installations are endlessly creative and fascinating, and this one by Damian Ortega is something.


[Hi1] We touched on this before, but The College Boards flip-flopping again on “lopping off” 250 years of history by changing the cut dates for AP World History to the very odd 1200 from 1450. Underlying issue: the fact that the previous 9K years of history is too much to cover in one class.

[Hi2] The rare lunar eclipse of this past week drew lots of interest, but in history and in many cultures such events were not causes for celebration.

[Hi3] The global history of ketchup

[Hi4] The unusual history of government cheese, which the government still has plenty of since it was, shockingly, not very well received. Not the least of reasons was the smell, and taste that crossed the palate as mixture of overly salted Velvetta and socio-economic despair. But mostly the smell.


[At1] The Blue Mosque isn’t the only color there, as this piece finds lots of color in Istanbul

[At2] Humanitarian motivation for participatory design, and how the closing of one initiative spurned new progress.

[At3] Kiev as a bucket list architecture city.

[At4] When you think of London, and specifically the tube, a certain picture and aesthetic comes to mind. The new “crossline” project might have been so meticulously planned that it’s design is just plain dull.

*When the first wood stage was put in at Red Rocks, pretty sure they didn’t envision the need for noise restrictions, but EDM has that effect on people and culture…

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Morning Ed: Politics {2018.07.28.Sa}( 8 )

[Po1] What if Andrew Cuomo isn’t the governor of New York at all?

[Po1] We can add woodchucks to the list of people who don’t like Paul Ryan.

[Po1] This strikes me as fundamentally correct: David Souter has a very, very long shadow. He doesn’t come up as often as Bork does, but it’s ever-present.

[Po1] Be prepared: Chris Beck explains how to avoid becoming the next Red Hen.

[Po1] Matt Welch says that if you want good governance, elect libertarians.

[Po1] People who live on the web dramatically overestimate how many people live on the web.

[Po1] When you’ve lost Ian Milhauser

[Po1] I consumed Bill Clinton’s recent novel as potential post-fodder but found that it wasn’t actually interesting to write about except for the psychoanalyses we’re seeing a fair amount of.

[Po1] The Natural Law Party lives on! In spiritv, if not in name.

[Po1] A lot of people on the left are taking it as an article of faith that Trump proves you can win an election through motivating the base instead of reaching out to new voters because swing voters don’t exist anymore, but that’s not what happened.


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Linky Friday: Worldwide( 51 )

The world breaks everyone, and afterward, some are strong at the broken places. – Ernest Hemingway

Linky Friday: Worldwide


[Wo1] The world order is cracking, according to this Foreign Policy piece, and, they say, the reasons and fixes are not going to be easy.

[Wo2] Take these numbers with a whole lot of salt, but here is the number of nuclear weapons in the world, give or take the fact that their existence and numbers are some of the most closely guarded secrets in the world.

[Wo3] Grist takes the current events and news as further proof of climate change being an imminent threat.

[Wo4] Bloomberg takes a different tact with the world being on fire, both figuratively and literally, by blaming the jet stream and an odd climate “kink”

[Wo5] The more we accept marijuana, the less we know about where in the world it is coming from, according to Vox.

[Wo6] Turns out the world is full of artificial cities.

[Wo7] The dream of quitting your job and travelling the world is an old and universal one. Now it can make you rich…by selling that dream to others as a financial planner.


[Me1] Just how much are the world’s biggest celebrities making on Instagram? You might be surprised…

[Me2] Was the rise of Facebook, or at least something similar, inevitable? This Atlantic article thinks so.

[Me3] The next generation of networking to build everything from movies to digital content might be sitting in your social media feed already.

[Me4] FCC is blocking Sinclair’s purchase of Tribune Media, and the president is not happy about it.

[Me5] Ethan Epstein says Trump is bad for the print media, just not in the way you are thinking about. For all the press he creates, his tariffs include the base material for, of all things, newspaper print.

[Me6] AI and news media…what could possibly go wrong?

[Me7] The old saying is there is no such thing as bad publicity, but for Breitbart, the media attention flood slowing to a trickle might be fatal.

[Me8] There are lots of media companies, but according to this Fortune write-up, only about six control what you are consuming.


[Na1] There is an international crisis about migration, but less talked about is that most refugee and immigration law, especially in Europe, was designed for the ravages of WW2 and doesn’t fit today, and is more often ignored or flouted without being fixed.

[Na2] The Baltic nations, who were the subject of much focus by NATO over the years, disagree with President Trump’s assertion that NATO is obsolete.[Na3]

[Na4] Nobody has a clue how the EU will view the UK post-Brexit, least of all the EU

[Na5] G20 seeks cryptocurrencies regulations. I know there are many that think crypto and blockchain is the be all/end all, but skeptics-myself included-have long warned to wait till the nations of the world take aim at it.


[Pe1] The worlds first “test tube” baby turns 40

[Pe2] Wherever you fall on the “death with dignity” euthanasia debate, if you have to hold down the patient, consent is, at the very least, questionable. In the Netherlands, they found it to be criminal.

[Pe3] The world’s oldest computer algorithm has sold for $125K. The fact it was written 200 years ago by poet Lord Byron’s daughter is a story in and of itself.

[Pe4] Hard to argue that one of the biggest outside factors to change people in recent years is the phones, and the communications and information ability they now contain.

[Pe5] The largest group of people in the US, the boomers, might be getting eclipsed, but their retirement is going to have a large effect.


[Cu1] They keep flirting with each other but are yet to hook up. Science and culture and trying to mesh the two.

[Cu2] Jonathan Gold has passed away; this review touches on how his turn to being a food critic was just as much commenting on culture as the dishes.

[Cu3] In the UK, a major study shows that sexual harassment is embedded in the workplace culture, and no one seems to know what to do about it.

[Cu4] Its a hard thing to quantify but the BBC takes a shot at it: 5 countries that influence the world with their culture.

[Cu5] Fan culture, or more specifically aggressive fan culture, is starting to flood into the real culture.

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Morning Ed: Planet Earth {2018.07.26.Th}( 8 )

[PE1] Ford is ahead of schedule on cutting carbon emissions.

[PE2] Policies against climate change proposals are often more popular in theory than in practice. One of the advantages of a revenue neutral tax is that people like the money. The words British Columbia get no mention in an article about climate change pushback.

[PE3] Ordinarily I’d say this is collateral damage I can live with, but the concerns seem reasonable.

[PE4] For the most part, we’re still not acting like we believe climate change is going to be that bad.

[PE5] Climate change is confusing the geese.

[PE6] Well, it may be destroying the planet for us, but climate change is making for some cool photography.

[PE7] How not to clean up nuclear waste.

[PE8] What do we do with decommissions wind turbines? It’s a problem.

[PE9] New research further supporting the existing conclusion: CO2 levels are likely to cause a heck of a lot of ocean acidification in the years to come.

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Morning Ed: Space {2018.07.24.T}( 17 )

[Sp1] More on the fascinating Saturnian moon Enceladus.

[Sp2] Looks like space truckers’ future jobs are not safe from automation.

[Sp3] Is China about to take the lead in the space race?

[Sp4] Sex positions… in space!

[Sp5] Scientists managed to spot a planet being born.

[Sp6] Douglas Rushkoff warns the the rich are going to leave the rest of us behind with space exploration, and the digitization of our minds. And Alex Knapp writes about their space adventurism.

[Sp7] Next year, Mercury will travel across the face of the sun (from our vantage, naturally), which is actually pretty rare.

[Sp8] I only happened to know about Io’s volcanic infrastructure thanks to The Expanse.

[Sp9] James Poulos looks at our attraction to Mars.

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Morning Ed: Health {2018.07.23.M}( 4 )

[He1] Nurse practitioners are helping to fill some gaps in ruralia.

[He2] An alternative will be telemedicine, which has potential but will probably require desperation before it takes of. My wife actually has a non-compete that would more or less prevent her from doing telemedicine for another part of the country as long as she is broadcasting within a 30 mile radius of where we are now.

[He3] Between obesity and Alzheimer’s, it’s interesting to think what we’d never guess might be caused by viruses and bacteria.

[He4] Urban bias among physicians is not strictly an American problem. In fact, in India it might be an even bigger one. A look at rural healthcare in India.

[He5] An argument for diversity and/or affirmative action: With black patients, black doctors may be better doctors simply for being black.

[He6] Well, it will still have the benefit of preventing me from now being able to move my shoulders without feeling great pain.

[He7] It’s really disappointing that they haven’t found someone to take over this work. I hope some foundation or consortium manages to do so.

[He8] We should eliminate them as best we can, but medical errors will always be with us.

[He9] Scott Alexander looks at melatonin. My problem is that I really need the 10mg and there’s not much that can contradict my experience here.

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Ordinary Sunday Brunch: Culture Quick Links( 11 )

“Wagner’s music isn’t as bad as it sounds.” – Mark Twain

Ordinary Sunday Brunch: Culture Quick Links


[Mu1] With the end of CDs these things will go away as well, but Now That’s What I Call Music made it to the century mark. Not a bad run.

[Mu2] It doesn’t happen often, but the San Francisco Opera went the distance and did Wagner’s entire 17 hour Ring Cycle. Who knew there were Wagner die-hards known as “ring-nuts” who travel the world chasing the full presentation?

[Mu3] The music copywrite debate will only get more complicated, and CATO has a write-up on the Music Modernization Act (MMA) that is currently winding its way through congress, and what it means.

[Mu4] OK, then…“A detailed musical analysis of how ABBA’s ‘Mamma Mia’ is literally a perfect pop song”


[Ar1] The Art of a Fired Cartoonist

[Ar2] Turning a radio telescope into a giant art installation

[Ar3] Using AI to make art, in this robotic art competition.

[Ar4] Las Vegas is many things. Come for the gambling, shows, and the rest of it… and take in one of this list of art galleries and exhibits.


[Hi1] The college board reverses itself and decides not to trim 250 years off of history.

[Hi2] Have you ever considered where your brush came from. Or where they might have been? If you are this company in Buffalo, NY, after 150 years of making your product brushes along a lot of history.

[Hi3] With streaming on your devices all the rage, good time to remember the original mobile streaming: the drive-in movie theater.

[Hi4} Steamtown National Historic Site does the hard work of archiving everything from handwritten notes, half-destroyed books, and tons of paper, but it’s the 20K glass plate negatives that really bring the history to life.

Ordinary Sunday Brunch: Culture Quick Links


[At1] The viral video of the racoon scaling a building was all over the place; here’s the breakdown on how the architecture of the building lended itself to the furry critter’s climb of glory.

[At2] The Museum of Modern Art is doing a full on exhibit of socialist architecture from the former Yugoslavia and the radical ideas they came up with. Who knew you could do so much variation in cement buildings.

[At3] Don’t have Baku on your to-go list of architectural cities not to miss? You should. My personal favorite here is the carpet museum in the style of a rolled up rug.

[At4] Los Angeles is a city of people from somewhere else coming to live and build dreams, so of course the architecture would reflect that, with a decidedly California twist when it came to buildings meant to get attention for businesses.

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Linky Friday: From Which Other Things STEM( 16 )

I tell students that I believe STEM majors have the most exciting opportunities than any other majors in college. – Emily Calandrelli, BS Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering West Virginia University, MS Aeronautics and Astronautics MIT, MS Technology and Policy MIT

The Offspring. Frontman Dexter Holland, PhD in Molecular Biology, University of Southern California


[Sc1] It could be right out of Jurassic Park: “A mid-Cretaceous embryonic-to-neonate snake in amber from Myanmar“, or for the rest of us the world’s oldest snake embryo found cased in amber.

[Sc2] Fake news also applies to science headlines sometimes. Not an article, but a good back and forth here on discerning “a spitball in a giant spitball fight in this community of scientists”

[Sc3] The U.S. government is investing $3-billion-a-year in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education. So how did an Intel executive with no federal or known STEM advocacy experience land the lead role? Fascinating write up on Gabriela González’s path from immigrant to running point for the NSF effort to get young girls and women interested in science fields.

[Sc4] When a scientist runs for public office, it’s the intangibles and outside factors that often decide the race as opposed to the evidence-based positions or expertise in a field.

[Sc5] The University of North Carolina is one of the finer academic institutions around, so when one of UNC’s highest profile and highest paid employees, held a press conference in which he delved into science, CTE and effects on the brain, and some sociology about how these things might affect our country, people noticed. Problem is Larry Fedora is the head football coach, and probably should have stuck to recruiting and game plans.

[Sc6] One thing science may never fully understand is the human brain. For example, turns our that first memory you have? It probably isn’t yours.

[Sc7] How an early version of Photoshop and coloring the grainy, grey-scaled images from the Hubble space telescope revolutionized how we see the universe.

[Sc8] Speaking of space, while some are still waiting for the Sweet Meteor of Death to come, how about a double asteroid, whose two parts are orbiting each other as they careen through space.

Queen. Guitarist Brian May, PhD in Astrophysics, Imperial College London


[Te1] The enemy of my enemy is my friend, or at least Microsoft and Walmart are finding common cause in the cloud to compete with Amazon.

[Te2] Asia-Pacific factories are leading the way in high-tech, digital technology in production and manufacturing.

[Te3] How’s this for counter-intuitive: tech reporters who limit their own tech usage.

[Te4] China is leading the world in surveillance technology, facial recognition, and related fields, but don’t ever ask the question “can this be used for good?” when dealing with a totalitarian regime, since that answer will always be a resounding “no”.

[Te5] Weather forecasting is mocked on the news, but to airlines it can be make or break for thin margins. JetBlue is investing heavily in new weather forecasting tech to address that very issue.

[Te6] This is sure to stir debate: studies are starting to come out that tech usage is affecting ADHD-type symptoms.

Boston. Guitarist Tom Scholz BS, MS in Mechanical Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology


[En1] There is no such thing as perfect, but modern tech and precision engineering sure are making a run at it.

[En2] “Is a race car driver an athlete?” is an old debate, but according to world champion Jenson Button, it was a lack of understanding the engineering and tech that went into his car that held him back initially. “It almost ended my career being bad at engineering and not having any understanding of a racing car.”

[En3] This is just one example of local reporting on it, but robotics camps are everywhere these days for students, and many are hoping they do for engineering and sciences what little league does for future pro players.

[En4] Speaking of kids, Girls Scouts is now doing badges in robotics, engineering, space sciences, and other associated fields.

[En5] If you are going to jump out of plane from nearly 5 miles up without a parachute, you better have your engineering of the stunt down tight. Here’s the story of Luke Aikins not dying thanks to “a rather nervous civil engineer, John Cruikshank, who helped design the audacious stunt”.

[En6] People think that the long-promised drone delivery systems will have a lot of high tech involved, turns out the biggest engineering challenge isn’t the drone but the hook.

Dan Snaith, stage name Caribou, PhD in Mathmatics, Imperial College London


[Ma1] Who needs a formula when you can just knit two throw pillows and compare? This Carthage College class is teaching math through knitting.

[Ma2] Understanding Math vs Understanding Math

[Ma3] Fighting a fear of math, and how to get over it. I can relate: “I studied in an education system that said science and math are the important factors … and each student was analyzed and measured by their math and science grades.”

[Ma4] This is fun. Trust your math project by making a cardboard boat. With you in it.

[Ma5] For people who have a hard time learning math, making it hands-on might be the ticket to success.

[Ma6] We kind of figured this, but someone actually did the research on it; coffee, or at least in this case the scent of coffee, appears to boost the ability to do math.

[Ma7] There are many stories like this on, from many different school districts, of not nearly enough math teachers to go around.

Physics and Jazz:


Queen Guitarist Dr. Brian May (PhD Astrophysics) touring the ESO’s Paranal Observatory

Featured photo: On 28 and 29 September 2015, ESO’s Paranal Observatory welcomed a very special visitor — British rock guitarist, singer, songwriter and astrophysicist, Brian May. Famed for being the lead guitarist of the legendary rock band Queen — May also has a passion for astronomy. This picture shows Brian May in one of the domes of the ESO Very Large Telescope.

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Morning Ed: Law & Order {2017.07.19.Th}( 48 )

[LO1] This guy’s mug shot looks so cocky… but I guess he’s earned it. And these two

[LO2] I would be mighty tempted to charge her with fraud and identity theft and leave it at that.

[LO3] Seems like we have some work to do on guardianship and preventing the fleecing of the elderly. Boston Legal had a pretty good episode on this.

[LO4] I’m pretty sure this is the start to one of the seasons of 24. You just see it’s going to end up in the hands of some defense contractor who intends to use it on American soil.

[LO5] Hindsight is 20/20 but it sure seems noticeable that everybody who works at this place seems really large.

[LO6] Well, gotta give her credit for making the most of her ill-gotten opportunity.

[LO7] Crime and Justice News reports on the ruralian crime wave.

[LO8] Convicted on the sixth trial.

[LO9] … probation?

[LO0] Wow.

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Morning Ed: Education {2018.07.18.W}( 12 )

[Ed1] This is one of those things that sounds a lot more fair and egalitarian than it likely is. (And I say this as someone who is not a particularly good test-taker.)

[Ed3] Apparently there is a cheating problem at Caltech and the university is in denial.

[Ed4] Stephen Gutowski looks at teacher firearm training in Colorado.

[Ed5] Arvind Dilawar argues that universities are dropping the ball when it comes to protecting students from right-wing harassment campaigns.

[Ed6] Jason Delisle points to the University of Maryland’s online program and its astronomical failure and debt rates. If so, this mostly tells us that online education has a lot of work to do on getting better, cheaper, or both. (Having looked at online programs, Maryland was one of the most expensive.)

[Ed7] Yeah, you gotta be careful with this sort of thing.

[Ed8] Joanne Jacobs says that while more people are going to college, a lot of them are dropping out. That is more or less the worst-case scenario, from an investment standpoint.

[Ed9] One of the bigger knocks against school secessions (pulling out of the larger districts) is racial segregation, but apparently it may be more complicated than that. Remember that Robert Verbruggen has written quite a bit on how resegregation isn’t happening.

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Morning Ed: Science {2018.07.17.T}( 4 )

[Sc1] A look at the lie that was the Stanford Prison Experiment.

[Sc2] For The New Atlantis, Robert Zubrin writes about anti-humanism and the merchants of dispair.

[Sc3] If scientists can get beyond 1000 followers, they can start really reaching people.

[Sc4] Nadia Eghbal writes on the self-financing of science.

[Sc5] This sounds important.

[Sc6] The science of the emoji.

[Sc7] Six (non-conservative) psychologists and sociologists in three studies suggest there is a substantial ideological bias in social science research. Piercarlo Valdesolo argues that neutrality of perspective, and not equality of perspective, should win out.

[Sc8] There may be a correlation between migraines and cold-climate adaptivity.

[Sc9] You know who’s not having a replication crisis? Philosophy!

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Ordinary Sunday Brunch: Culture Quick Links( 19 )

Then I headed down the streets, And somewhere far away a lonely bell was ringing, And it echoed through the canyons, Like the disappearing dreams of yesterday.

On a Sunday morning sidewalk, Oh, I’m wishing, Lord, that I was stoned, Cause there’s something in a Sunday, That’ll make a body feel alone.

And there ain’t nothin’ short of dyin’, Thats half as lonesome as the sound, Of a sleepin’ city sidewalk, And Sunday mornin’ comin’ down. – Kris Kristofferson


[Mu1] This is becoming a trend in many areas, but music especially seems prone to “stans”, where the obsessive fans of a particular artist/group are no longer loners but can ban together to target and harass dissenters. If you doubt this, tweet something negative about Beyoncé and watch what happens.

[Mu2] GayC/DC is using their love of AC/DC to win over fans on and off stage. And it seems to be working, as they have carved out a niche for themselves.

[Mu3] The Prince estate is finally ready to open for business, after nearly two years of sorting, cataloguing, and planning. First up, the release of a long-rumored but unheard recording found on TDK cassette tape, one of 8,000 such unlabeled tapes found. The amount of music found in “the vault” is mind blowing. (video below from that upcoming release “Piano & a Microphone 1983”)

[Mu4] If you want to be the official musical advocate for a major city, and want to live in Vancouver, well, they are hiring.

Ordinary Sunday Brunch: Culture Quick Links

Robert Dighton


[Ar1] “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder,” is an age old saying, so obviously we need to get some research labs to look into why that is. The growing trend is called “experimental aesthetics”, using multi-disciplined scientific research to explain things like art and why we like it.

[Art] “Body of work” is another phrase often used, and at the World Bodypainting Festival serious artists find quite a bit of freedom with a human canvas. (link contains some potentially NSFW but artistic nudity)

[Ar3] Murals are becoming very popular as “neighborhood art”, unless you’re in LA and the new Lebron James mural is removed by the artist because folks can not refrain from defacing it.

Ordinary Sunday Brunch: Culture Quick Links


[Hi1] Luzhniki Stadium will host the World Cup Final, but in the 50s when built and named for Lenin, the stadium was a symbol and tool of Soviet power projection, and in 1982 was the scene of a crowd disaster that injured hundreds and killed at least 66.

[Hi2] Appropriate for summertime, the history and psychology of rollercoasters.

[Hi3] Since it’s been the focal point of his administration in many ways, here is a run down on the immigration history of President Trump’s family.

[Hi4] The snarky answer is “because they are the ones who can write it,” but the author has a point in the question “Why is history always about humans?”

Ordinary Sunday Brunch: Culture Quick Links

“I am a Muslim and I love my Christian siblings” – graffiti in Egypt 2011


[Re1] A new twist in the never-ending legal wrangling between Christians, Atheist, and government; this time it’s license plates in Kentucky.

[Re2] It’s not just a legend; the doors to St. Peter’s Basilica were made by an atheist, and the Pope did it on purpose.

[Re3] Interesting Op-Ed by Rose Hamid, a Muslim activist who attended the 2016 RNC in Cleveland, and who wants the 2020 Convention to come to Charlotte.

[Re4] It’s a small sample size, but let us take hope where we can find it. Researchers found that children in an area of India that has constant Muslim-Hindu violence still have a high regard for religious tolerance.

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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:

The School Choice DebateCharter schools can play a valuable role in education reform.
By Scott J Davies

What’s so Great About the Truth Anyway?
Should we believe in falsehoods when doing so works better?
By Vikram Bath

Jazz, the Devil, and the Axeman of New Orleans
A jazz loving serial killer walked the beautiful but vaguely ominous streets of 1918 New Orleans, chiseling his way into back doors of the homes of local merchants…
By Em Carpenter

You are Going to Die
Is it possible that the idea of death tickling at the back of our mind is pushing us to be more ideologically rigid as our population ages? Is fear driving our new partisan gulf? As a thought experiment let’s be brave and think about death for just a moment.
By Mark Kruger

Road Movie To Berlin, The Original Motion Picture SoundtrackLife, put to music.
By Will Truman

Linky Friday: SummertimeLinky Friday is Ordinary Time’s Friday tradition of compiling stories from around the world and across the web straight to you. This week, Summertime is the theme, and clicks are easy, the stories are jumping, and the world is yours to read, share, and discuss. From Gershwin to Manafort, plenty to occupy your dog days of summertime.
By Andrew Donaldson

Saturday and Weekend posts by Jaybird

TSN: Ordinary Times quick links

The Case(s) Against The Straw Ban
Private Person, Unwilling Celebrity
DAG Rosenstein Announces Indictments of 12 Russian GRU Members
Find The Nearest Black Kid?
The Denmark Dilemma
Steve Ditko’s Legacy
AI is Coming, But What Culture Will Influence It?
Introductory Rates & Inertia

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.

Welcome to Ordinary Times.

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Linky Friday: Summertime( 21 )

Linky Friday: Summertime

These are strange and breathless days, the dog days, when people are led to do things they are sure to be sorry for after.” Natalie Babbitt, Tuck Everlasting

The Heat

[He1] Your toaster regularly turns electricity to heat. Pretty simple. If you can make the reverse happen and turn heat into electricity, you might really be onto something.

[He2] Mapping the “heat island effect” in urban areas. The idea is using the data to help city planners prevent the temperature phenomenon found in dense urban environments.

[He3] A Harvard study shows that heat can slow down the brain as much as 13%.

[He4] The old timers already know this, but when it’s ” It’s hotter than Hell and half of Georgia” the weather makes everyone more aggressive. But that shouldn’t be a problem in our calm, well-mannered society…right?

[He5] The high cost of electricity is causing concerns in the desert, where air conditioning, lack there of, or a power grid failure, spells troubled for thousands of elderly who tend to flock there for retirement.

The Living

[Li1] “According to the U.N.’s estimates, 3.97 billion people cram themselves into the highly populated countries of China, India, the U.S., Indonesia, Brazil, Pakistan, or Nigeria.” That’s 50% of the human race in seven countries.

[Li2] Paul Manafort was getting “VIP treatment” in prison, a fact he probably should have kept to himself as the judge has now ordered him moved for that very reason.

[Li3] An amazing story how a 28-year old farmer had a freak occurrence, died alone, but touched many. Incredible story of life and living.

[Li4] Living organ donors and advancements in procedures and technology have made the once-miraculous kidney transplant almost routine.

[Li5] Living free is a right in America, living free of a microwave is a statement of choice.

The Sounds

[So1] Gustav Holst’s “The Planets,” is a classic, but NASA has the real thing from the Cassini spacecraft.

[So2] Speaking of NASA, some cool video of an Atlas V ripping a rainbow and cirrus formations to shreds with the sound wave it’s generating. Also a video on how water and mist is used to deaden the sound of blast off.

[So3] Yes, the sound of your own voice really does sound that bad, makes you cringe, and you aren’t alone. Here is the science to why the old adage is true.

[So4] “We can fix it in post” doesn’t work on a crab boat in Alaska: How the sound guys for shows like “Deadliest Catch” and “Amazing Race” make the reality in reality TV sound so good.

[So5] “A Quiet Place” was a huge hit movie, and the sound-or lack their of-was as much the main character as the humans. So the sound designers have some suggestions for making the home experience of silence more like the theater.

The Strange

[St1] Stormy Daniels, yes that one, was arrested at a Columbus, OH strip club for touching what turned out to be undercover police officers during her performance. Chargers have been dropped, but with Avenatti on the case I doubt it’s the last we hear of it. Something seems off about this story.

[St2] Strange tingling in your legs? Probably nothing, unless you are this woman and it turned out to be parasites in her spine.

[St3] It’s titled “Strange Days” but as art installations go, this one using a brutalist building as it’s backdrop for 21 artist is pretty amazing.

[St4] I admire the ability it takes to perform it, but the Cirque shows always present as varying degrees of weird to me. When Montreal Cirque Festival gets into full swing, the weird and the wonderful go full bore.

[St5] With the pending vacating of the LA Times building, a short video of some of the stranger nooks and crannies of the papers long time home.

The Madness

[Ma1] Brian Howey sees no method to President Trumps madness, while Victor David Hanson suggests reciprocity is the driving force behind Trump’s method.

[Ma2] Scientists want to go Jurassic Park and test tube the recently extinct (earlier this year) Northern White Rhino, but conservationist and naturalist are not happy about it.

[Ma3] Sometimes I just reflexively feel we are too quick to write off things like mass shootings to mental illness, and now some research is starting to find the same thing, that the mentally ill are more likely to be victim than perpetrator of crime.

[Ma4] Stanley Cavell, philosopher who pushed for “ordinary language philosophy” and writer of several books including “Pursuit of Happiness” died recently.

[Ma5] The, frankly, bizarre saga involving MSNBC personality Joy Reid and years old blog posts is finally showing up in her ratings.

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Morning Ed: Arts & Entertainment {2018.07.12.Th}( 64 )

[AE1] At Splice Today, Tom DeVinti looks at the legacy of Hank Williams and Chris Beck at the top ten country songs about cities and towns.

[AE2] The Hindu Times has a story on Conan Doyle, Sherlock Homes, and colonialism.

[AE3] The problem with Game of Thrones, says Craig Bernthal, is that it is a history without redemption.

[AE4] Sean T Collins announces that the only good fandom left (and he means left) is Dune.

[AE5] The rare books collection community is largely a men’s club, but some women are doing well.

[AE6] ESPN may be losing subscribers, but they’re gaining money.

[AE7] It seems to me that Netflix’s audience doesn’t lend itself to classics, and in between Netflix and Filmstruck is Hulu, which is built more on nostalgia and less on original programming.

[AE8] Given that HBO is profitable and Netflix is sailing on a wing and a prayer, it’s odd that AT&T seems to want to turn HBO into Netflix.

[AE9] Of all the Hitchcock movies, Vertigo has among the most staying power. Nicholas Barber explains how it resonates in a world of catfishing and #MeToo.

[AE0] Question of the Day:

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Morning Ed: Labor {2018.07.11.W}( 99 )

[Lb1] Every now and again I start feeling bad for employers who can’t get the people they need – unlike some I don’t assume the problem is 100% pay – but then articles like this come up and I lose that sympathy. The first step to hiring people in the current job market is to stop acting like it’s the job market from ten years ago.

[Lb2] As always, define “fairly“.

[Lb3] This is intriguing… kind of making me wish I had done some of my studies in distribution and logistics.

[Lb4] At Trump resorts, Americans need not apply.

[Lb5] The author of the Odyssey article about the girl whose parents bankrolled a trip to Coachella (who turned out not to be a girl at all) explains how it all started as an attempt to unearth a multi-level marketing scam for writers.

[Lb6] The US has got a trucker shortage going on, though I’m told it’s still not enough of one to change compensation structure much beyond one-time newhire bonuses.

[Lb7] With longer lifespans, a Stanford researcher says we should delay full-time work until we’re 40, allowing us to send the time before that on other pursuits like raising children.

[Lb8] There may be a change in the way legal work is getting done, providing more employment opportunities for lawyers.

[Lb9] That sounds better than this, at any rate, which is unfortunate because that’s the kind of job I could use right now.


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Morning Ed: Transportation {2018.07.10.Tu}( 15 )

[Tr1] In a piece about supersonic air travel, I think James Pehokoukis buries the lede: Environmentalists will likely lose nearly every argument where they are up against immediate and near-term consumer benefit and economic growth… and I don’t see how they win the debate while losing those battles.

[Tr2] I’m always suspicious of arguments that involve aesthetic and value preferences actually saving money, but a guy can hope, right?

[Tr3] Caution: There’s a new danger on the roads in Saudi Arabia.

[Tr4] This is kind of weird. Most of the time when I fly they are pretty good about taking the trash pretty repeatedly.

[Tr5] Georgia passed a new hands-free law with regard to cell phones while driving. I’d thought that they were ineffective, but maybe not.

[Tr6] Pedestrians are getting killed by cars at an alarming rate, and while we initially blame texting and distracted driving the problem appears to be the proliferation of SUVs. Wisely, the article doesn’t bother to suggest we change the kinds of cars we drive, but they do propose a mixed bag of regulations that might help.

[Tr7] According to Politico, Trump is working to derail an important tunnel project.

[Tr8] Good.

[Tr9] Better watch where you’re driving or the planet may eat you up.

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Morning Ed: Law & Order {2018.07.09.M}( 32 )

[LO1] One of the things that always makes me uncomfortable with notions that we need to be able to predict who is going to be the next school shooter is false positives.

[LO2] If you’re going to die too young, is it better or worse to die ironically.

[LO3] WhatsApp and mob justice in India.

[LO4] Adeshina Emmanuel and (former Timesperson) Shawn Gude take aim at police unions.

[LO5] Police in Miami had to give a prostitute nearly $20,000 back.

[LO6] Helicopter escape! This seems like a plot I would have come up with in junior high and then thought stupid by high school, but it apparently used to be a regular nonoccurence.

[LO7] A mass shooters disproportionately white? Maybe not. Off the cuff, I would guess that the more narrow the definition of “mass shooting” the whiter the pool of culprits.

[LO8] Scalawag looks at attempts to organize a prisoners’ union in North Carolina.

[LO9] Fish yeah!

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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:

Motherhood and Amy Coney Barrett: Objection-Irrelevant.
If you follow the news surrounding hopefuls for the empty SCOTUS seat, you undoubtedly know that Barrett, a federal circuit judge and Notre Dame law grad, is the mother of seven children. In fact, judging by the media’s profiles of her, this is the most interesting thing about her…
By Em Carpenter

Moral panics can crash quickly. Or they can last centuries, as the moral panic over witchcraft did. I have no feel for how long the moral panic over sex work will last. But now that FOSTA is law, the potential damage it will cause has dramatically increased.
By Michael Siegel

There’s a constituency for JanusIf public-sector unions are worth saving, it supporters will have to do a better job at advancing the reasons.
By Gabriel Conroy

Police Keep On Policing Different People DifferentlyThose who defend the police insist that perceptions made in the moment matter most of all and should trump all other concerns and criticisms. They are onto something.
By Sam Wilkinson

American Imagination
Our imagined community is myth that requires some strong juju. We collectively imagine what it “means” to be an American. The fact that we still care about our imagined identity means we haven’t given up on our joint project. We scrap and cuss and “resist” and “maga” because we all still care.
By Mark Kruger

A Philistine Pondering on the Symphony
It may not be Carnegie Hall in New York City, or Royal Albert Hall in London, or Konzerthaus in Berlin, but for that moment-on that night-it could well have been symphony night at the Vienna State Opera with Mahler himself holding the door and Strauss serving as usher.
By Andrew Donaldson

Where Do Metro Denver’s Next Million People Go?
There are places, well within the current confines of the metro area, to stash a lot of people. Here’s one.
By Michael Cain

The GOAT Wars: A Statistical Analysis
As he heads to Los Angeles, we re-present AdotSad’s piece comparing LeBron James and Michael Jordan.
By Adot Sad

The Judicial Depoliticitization Amendment
Burt Likko makes an ambitious proposal.
By Burt Likko

A mildly NSFW music video that, seriously, I cleared with Maribou before posting
By Jaybird

Linky Friday: Wherever I May Roam
Linky Friday: Wherever I May Roam contains links to a whole world of stories. From off the beaten path, the knowledge acquired, to wherever you call home there is something for everybody to explore.
By Andrew Donaldson

Getting better by doing the exact same thing you did last time, just quietly
By Jaybird

A delightful and unexpected sequel:
Dungeon Warfare II
By Jaybird

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.

Welcome to Ordinary Times.

Please do be so kind as to share this post.

Sunday Brunch: Culture Quick Links( 0 )


[Mu1] @ThoroughlyThorp on why that song really does feel like an old friend when you hear it.

[Mu2] I know, I know…we’ve already covered the release of Coltrane’s “Both Directions at Once.” But now fully listened to, it’s quite deserving of the attention it is getting, and this is an excellent write up on the material.

[Mu3] There have been many cross promotions with the World Cup. Improvising music in a church with a pipe organ and live audience to “soundtrack” the game is a whole new level though.

Sunday Brunch: Culture Quick Links


[Ar1] Lots of research show the effects of art on kids, but what about when they have to destroy their own creations?

[Ar2] Ten of the most famous pieces of art ever stolen, and amazingly some have been stolen more than once.

[Ar3] Taking 13 years worth of art to a crematorium, to make more art. And some cookies. But mostly art.


[Fi1] What do Guillermo del Toro and Paddington Bear have in common? Magical realism in movies.

[Fi2] Tax credits are always touchy things. Tax credits for films even more so. Add in MTV’s Jersey Shore and New Jersey legislation, well you have yourself a debate.

[Fi3] It was bound to happen eventually; Sony Films accidentally uploads an entire film instead of the trailer to YouTube.

Sunday Brunch: Culture Quick Links


[Tr1] Our own Aaron David shared the link to his Mothers travel blog, and it is amazing. Stretching back to 2001, she and her husband are RV’ing the globe. Really must check it out.

[Tr2] Many people travel to make the memories. These folks travel knowing they probably won’t remember it, and how that enhances the experience. Amazing piece on traveling with Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI), a memory issue that often leads to Alzheimer’s, or even Alzheimer’s itself.

[Tr3] Bitcoin might some day rule the world as it’s proponents relentlessly insist, but travel giant Expedia.com has quietly dropped the option, joining cheapair.com, reddit, and others in abandoning crypto for a variety of reasons.

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Linky Friday: Wherever I May Roam( 29 )

For always roaming with a hungry heart. – Alfred Lord Tennyson

Linky Friday: Wherever I May Roam

Wherever I May Roam:

[Ro1] At any point in life, people spend their time in 25 places

[Ro2] “Free Range Parenting” has reached the legislative portion of it’s movement.

[Ro3] Ten places horses still roam freely that you can see in North America. I’ll personally vouch for Corolla in the Outer Banks, one of the most amazing things in nature-watching free horses on pristine sea shore.

[Ro4] It isn’t Star Treks holodeck, yet, but free-roaming VR gaming is sure trying. Only bad news, you have to go to Macau to enjoy it.

[Ro5] “Free to move about the cabin,” takes on new meaning with Emirates introducing in-flight VR options.

[Ro6] Roaming people are the bread and butter of the travel and hospitality industry, but like seemingly everything else these days, politics is making a mess of things.

[Ro7] There has been so much migration to Liberal, Kansas (no, that’s not a pun or joke set up) that the demographics change is affecting the accents of locals.

[Ro8] This is a neat way to do it: Visualizing 200 years of US immigration as if it were rings in a tree

[Ro9] The elephant in the room regarding zoning issues when trying to run a Renaissance Festival 50 feet to the wrong side of a line. Elephant is supposed to know which part of the land is zoned, apparently.

Linky Friday: Wherever I May Roam

Only Knowledge Will I Save

[Kn1] Artist turns deconsecrated church into a permanent, giant (49kg brass ball on 29M cable) Foucault pendulum.

[Kn2] First they marched on Washington, now the Juggalos apparently have the key to defeating the surveillance state.

[Kn3] This is one of the best practical research ideas I’ve seen in a long time: Archivist in a Backpack project from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill equips community partners with tools to start material and oral history archives.

[Kn4] “Deep Learning” is going from theorem in academia to adaptation with companies. Sounds easier than it is, and still plenty of questions about just how much human input is required to ” always act ethically when building any machine learning system.”

[Kn5] As knowledge apps begin to go premium fee-based, how about the original multi-source streaming service that is still free, your local library?

[Kn6] Mom always claimed it did but now there is evidence that piano practice does indeed make a kids smarter, especially in linguistic agility.

[Kn07] Leading scientist in their fields talk about the importance of their “other” passions and how broad interests are important for keeping a mental edge. Everything from sowing, comic book artist, martial arts, gardening, woodworking, model aircraft, cooking and more.

Linky Friday: Wherever I May Roam

Off the Beaten Path I Reign

[Re1] Japanese “naked hermit” had a perfect end of life plan going for 29 years till the government got involved.

[Re2] Fukushima became a “nuclear ghost town”, but perhaps even more amazing than the scenes straight out of an apocalypse movie, there has been zero looting.

[Re3] Feeling adventurous? Here are some of the last unexplored places on Earth, if you can get to them.

[Re4] Indigenous peoples have always been vulnerable to diseases by outsiders, but this remote tribe in Brazil ran into Venezuela refugees that brought a measles outbreak.

[Re5] Wildness, Wilderness, and government definitions that mark the difference.

[Re5] When it comes to wild and protected areas, designating them as such doesn’t mean they are better off.

[Re6] Want to get away from it all? Prison Inside Me meditation center will treat you to the solitary regime for the low, low, price of $450 a week (travel to Korea not included).

[Re7] 90% of the US population lives on 15% of the land. Break up the population density by time zone, nearly half live in EST while only 6% live in MST. So if its space you’re looking for, “Go west, young man.” even though that famous phrase is probably apocryphal.

Linky Friday: Wherever I May Roam

In bed in Antartica, 1910s

Where I Lay My Head is Home

[Ho1] Amazon Key delivered to you car, now it wants to just let itself in your home subject to user agreement, of course.

[Ho2] The wives and children left in the wake of the ISIS collapse are caught between countries, without a home, and with no plan as to what should be done with them.

[Ho3] A delegation of Republican lawmakers weren’t home for the 4th of July holiday, which wouldn’t be a thing except they were in Russia instead.

[Ho4] Homes in San Francisco are notoriously expensive, and the “look what this place went for” is practically it’s own thing now, but $2 million for a burned out drug den in Castro is still eye catching.

[Ho5] There are different videos of how to do this floating around, but at least one family in France has moved into a “3D Printed” house, and many are hoping it’s a sign for future social housing issues.

[Ho6] A lot of people conflate the two but important differences between refugees and immigrants in terminology, legal status, and how to address those problems.

[Ho7] Boomers are all about #vanlife in Portland and elsewhere

[Ho8] Meanwhile Millennials love them some RV’s.

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Morning Ed: Politics {2018.07.05.Th}( 51 )

[Po1] Sam Haselby calls for an end to American patriotism.

[Po2] Chase Madar makes the conservative case for universal healthcare. Also, Matthew Walther on recycling and trash reduction!

[Po3] It’s bizarre to me in 2018, an age in which everything on Wikipedia can fit five times over on something the size of my pinky nail, that we would be talking about destroying anything, records-wise.

[Po4] Jacob Siegel looks at the convergence of the hard left and hard right. This would have been more convincing in 2016, as President Trump seemed to clarify the dividing line even while candidate Trump actually blurred it a little.

[Po5] Sometimes the snark just writes itself.

[Po6] Kevin Vallier writes about how to trust through our polarization.

[Po7] I’m sure someone in the administration is taking notes.

[Po8] In the immigration debate, maybe the facts and figures matter after all and people’s views do change when presented with them.

[Po9] Rob Henderson explains how social desirability bias hurts polling and our understanding of the political environment. Maybe, though 2016 polling is a bad example to use since the national polling was better than 2012 (when the error ran in the other direction) and to the extent that the polling was skewed in the states it may have had more to do with response rates (and by extension attitudes towards pollsters and the media) than it did with people lying. The lament of the moderate part, though, where they tend to get absorbed by the committed ideologues on their side because the latter are more unmoving, seems right, though (though not symmetrically).

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Morning Ed: History {2018.ID]( 24 )

[Hi1] A look at the first female mapmaker.

[Hi2] This is interesting and I wish I had not read it. The history of castration.

[Hi3] So, apparently, Julius Caeser was chin-deficient.

[Hi4] Razib Khan points out that even in the historical context, human sacrifice was largely believed to be bad.

[Hi5] The volcanic eruption on the island of Krakatoa was very, very, very loud.

[Hi6] This makes more sense than gold, if you ask me.

[Hi7] The interesting story of the nation’s first law professor and his suspicious death.

[Hi8] A dark look at Britain’s slave trade. {More}

[Hi9] The United States might have made Scandanavian social democracy possible.

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Morning Ed: Arts & Entertainment {2018.07.03.T}( 45 )

[AE1] I had previously heard that it was thirty-three, but twenty-seven corresponds more with my own experience.

[AE2] I’m stoked! The closest thing we’ve really had to it is Animaniacs and some (kind of fun) knock-off on Amazon Prime.

[AE3] I don’t know whether to be excited or horrified. Hard to imagine, given how totally 90’s Daria was.

[AE4] The Expanse has been saved! Very unexpected.

[AE5] Jessica Ritchey wishes that certain kinds of feminists would stop erasing her from existence.

[AE6] Dagnabbit, I was just starting to get optimistic about this sort of thing.

[AE7] What the heck I like media corporate consolidation now! I’m actually not sure if this is better than Philo TV, but we may be eligible to get it for free so it has that going for it.

[AE8] This seems like it’s mostly a conflict between Amazon and the authors. It also seems like there are some tech solutions to assist in solving that problem.

[AE9] The problem with Game of Thrones, says Craig Bernthal, is that it is a history without redemption.

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Morning Ed: Vice {2018.07.02.M}( 1 )

[Vi1] Believe it or not, this is semi-encouraging. Obesity rates among adults growing probably means that it’s fat kids growing up and stable rates among kids probably means that the growth has stalled. The correlation between obesity and education holding for women but not men is really interesting.

[Vi2] This is sad, but not too surprising.

[Vi3] Once upon a time, Pinball was a menace to be contained.

[Vi4] Christopher Snowdon writes on anti-obesity efforts in Britain, which are directed by celebrity culture and ineffective.

[Vi5] There really is a strong case to be made that fat stigma is doing more damage to the public health than obesity.

[Vi6] This comports with my own experience. Whenever I lowered my nicotine level in the ejuice, it was met with a rise in vaping frequency. I would still end up reducing nicotine consumption because the compensation was incomplete, but it did mean that I ingested more of everything else.

[Vi7] I’m not big on the Juul model since they rely on proprietary cartridges and have a uniform nicotine level, but they really do appear to be doing what they can to avoid selling to kids and they are 100% right about the virtues of making ecigarettes feel and taste different than regular ones.

[Vi8] The vaping movement has always been conflicted in between “These things are wildly less dangerous than cigarettes” and the belief that it shouldn’t even matter.

[Vi9] Seems likely there was more than just vaping involved in this story.

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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:

The Republican Party Was Not Always This WayNYT (1995): “Clinton Embraces a Proposal To Cut Immigration by a Third”
By Vikram Bath

What About The Boys?
With all of the attention that we devote to girls and STEM, what about boys and reading?
By Scott J Davies

Time for a RAISE?A naturalized citizen takes a skeptical look at H1-B visas.
By Sanjay Kumar

Parenting Lessons in Parenting, Baseball, and OptometryI felt so disappointed for my son in his inability to excel at baseball. I had simply concluded that he lacked talent, and that was that. Of course, I would cheer him on and encourage him as long as he was interested, but, I assumed, the writing was on the wall. I pigeonholed him as “not an athlete”, just like me. Knowing now that it is quite likely that his vision was at least partially to blame for his trouble is a humbling reminder: our kids are not just small versions of ourselves.

The Politics Of Eighty SixingWhere will the Era of Bad Feelings ultimately take us?
By Burt Likko

5-4 SCOTUS Strikes Down Mandatory Union Dues for Public EmployeesA state may not require public employees to pay dues to a union if he or she does not wish to be a member, ruled a 5-4 SCOTUS today in Janus v. AFSCME, reversing a Seventh Circuit decision.
By Em Carpenter

“Travel Ban” Well-Within Trump’s Authority, Says Divided SCOTUSThe predictable split of the Court on this matter portends the inevitable split between the left and right leaning citizenry, as many decisions this term have done. With the strong, provocative rhetoric from our President which underlies the whole thing, it is hard to reconcile the two sides.
By Em Carpenter

Linky Friday: Daily Routine
“I began to realize how simple life could be if one had a regular routine to follow with fixed hours, a fixed salary, and very little original thinking to do.” – Roald Dahl

The Introvert Thing
By Jaybird

Saturday!Finally jumping into The Witcher 3.
By Jaybird

All the TSN headlines:

Mayors In The Crosshairs
The Capitol Gazette, In Their Own Words
The Short List? Deciding the SCOTUS Nominee
Anthony Kennedy to Retire From SCOTUS
About Last Night: Ocasio-Cortez Unseats Crowley in NY-14
Rise of the (Debating) Machines
Burgers For The Buns In The Oven

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.

Welcome to Ordinary Times.

Please do be so kind as to share this post.

Linky Friday: Daily Routine( 15 )

I began to realize how simple life could be if one had a regular routine to follow with fixed hours, a fixed salary, and very little original thinking to do. – Roald Dahl

Linky Friday: Daily Routine

Tom Ruen


[Mo1] NY Times goes across 7 time zones and discovers some surprising commonality in morning routines.

[Mo2] Breakfast is a lie, or so claims this gastrointestinal expert. Personally, I have the best GI surgeon in the world, and he swears by breakfast, so your mileage may vary.

[Mo3] “Have a reason to get up in the morning” is very old advice, but sounds much more exotic in Japanese and rebranded as “wellness theory”.

[Mo4] If your night is what others call morning you are either partying too hard or you might be a shift worker. To the millions of folks that are, that may mean all sorts of health implications.

[Mo5] Howard Schultz, now retired from morning juggernaut Starbucks, has thoughts on climate change and coffee.


By Mikael Knut Nilsson


[Ea1] I’ve used their ACV for years and had no idea there was a hippie, medicine show element involved

[Ea2] The major Mediterranean diet study that had to be retracted. But was it wrong?

[Ea3] Fast food restaurants per capita, complete with graphs and data. Spoiler alert: Another Alabama national title, but the south isn’t the top region for density.

[Ea4] “Millennials kill X” has become its own cottage industry for writers, but this one doesn’t pass the smell test. Still, the underlying data is interesting.

[Ea5] Conagra makes a $8 Billion investment into frozen food, which has bucked the downward trend of packaged grocery.

[Ea6] Apparently the trick to getting genetically modified foods to fly off the shelves is all in the labeling.




[Me1] The European Union is having more meetings to answer more questions , but getting few answers and little progress.

[Me2] 10 famous business people on meetings, with the common thread being none of them like it.

[Me3] It didn’t make his timeline, but Twitter’s Jack Dorsey and Facebook reps broke bread and met with Trump administration officials, conservative commentators, and others in the latest news of Big Tech trying to make nice.

[Me4] Before those controversial policies become headline news, they start in small meetings. In the case of the current immigration row, they start in a specific office, with weekly meetings, for that express purpose.

[Me5] Video killed the radio star, or if your Roswell, GA, live streaming killed the transcription service of meetings.

Linky Friday: Daily Routine


[Le1] The Gates Foundation might have spent $775M on education only to make people dumber by the end of it.

[Le2] The Greek Islands have long been a refuge from the world, so if you can do mobile learning there, you can do it anywhere.

[Le3] Elon Musk does not see the point in learning a second language, while science is learning that language, -improving or learning new ones- affects all kinds of brain functions.

[Le4] Labeled data takes longer to learn-both for humans and machines-and slows down algorithms so DARPA wants to change that to speed up machine learning.

[Le5] Computational models reveal serotonin is essential to neural plasticity, or in language the rest of us understands, serotonin speeds up learning

Linky Friday: Daily Routine

Royal Navy official photo


[Sl1] Remember that false alarm Hawaii missile alert were someone fell asleep at the switch? Turns out that’s just what happened.

[Sl2] Eight hours of sleep is not enough, but who has time for that?

[Sl3] Drawbridges are modern engineering marvels. So are modern mattresses. Confusing the two can be awkward.

[Sl4] London’s Stansted airport is trying to ban sleeping. Important to note here is Stansted is a hub for discount carrier RyanAir among others, and delays both in layovers and waiting for transportation are very common, so doubt this goes over well.

[Sl5] How to annoy a new parent with a dumb question? “How are you sleeping?” to someone with a newborn is right up there.

[Sl6] We are all guilty, which means it is probably a self-explanatory answer, but The Guardian asks the question anyway: Should we sleep at work?

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Morning Ed: Fraud {2018.06.28.Th}( 17 )

[Fr1] This will end badly.

[Fr2] An interesting story of identity theft.

[Fr3] A military deserter from 35 years ago was found alive and well in California, under a new identity.

[Fr4] We already talked about it some, but the story of the scholarship and the email fraud really is something else.

[Fr5] She ran out of money so she needed more. All she needed were some marks, which were evidently not hard to find.

[Fr6] Did any of you catch the 2015 story of the fake purple heart knight who got a job as a White House Chef?

[Fr7] The hammer of justice may be coming down hard on Elizabeth Holmes.

[Fr8] Hey, cool, something new to be worried about: synthetic identity fraud.

[Fr9] Turns out there may be something fishy about a martyr story in Gaza.

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Morning Ed: Cities {2018.06.27.W}( 23 )

[Ci1] Amenities matter, but maybe not as much as other things.

[Ci2] DC is being sued for gentrification. I’m sure this will become a lot better when Amazon moves in.

[Ci3] Richard Florida (!!) has a good piece on the potential problems of mega-regions.

[Ci4] A look at the square urbanism of Savannah.

[Ci5] No, no, no, this is moving things in the wrong direction. #BanCities #CountiesInstead

[Ci6] According to some new research, segregation comes at a cost.

[Ci7] A lot of people are itching to leave New York City. Also, San Francisco.

[Ci8] Sometimes our preconception of what world cities are “like” are more imaginary than real and the reality is more humdrum. I was watching a TV show that takes place in Berlin recently, and I was struck by the family’s suburban home and how it could have taken place anywhere.

[Ci9] Robert Poole argues that urbanists need to stop trying to get commuters out of their cars.

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Morning Ed: Technology {2018.06.26.T}( 28 )

[Te1] The first portable computer weighed twenty tons.

[Te2] Our new robot helpers are not necessarily being welcomed by the public at large. We may be finding out more soon here, stateside.

[Te3] We may be too worried about science creating artificial brains and maybe not enough about synthetic brains.

[Te4] Jeff Jacoby argues against breaking up Google. After watching Microsoft get knocked off its perch, I’ve moved against the notion that technology companies in particular need to be broken up.

[Te5] David Tracy wrote of the confusing and dangerous world of aftermarket car parts. We have aftermarket radios in both of our cars, but I’d be wary about anything involving kinetic safety.

[Te6] Microsoft is sinking data centers. Literally and intentionally.

[Te7] This is truly amazing. The question, of course, is whether or not it can be used for instant replay in sports.

[Te8] Seems noteworthy that Microsoft isn’t on this list, which probably tells us what we should (or more to the point, shouldn’t) do with the three that are.

[Te9] You know what software design really needs? Brutalism!


This sounds really trippy.

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Morning Ed: Media {2018.06.25.M}( 1 )

[Me1] James Warren looks at the media’s current dilemma: Too much data not enough information. This is where it would be helpful to have actual explainers people could rely on. Extremely hard to do in the Era of Trump.

[Me2] Becket Adams takes aim at NowThis, a new disreputable news outlet on the left.

[Me3] I actually am sort of surprised that Vice wasn’t purchased at some point, but I can see why conglomerates might want to steer clear even as they morph into indistinguishability from other leftward outlets.

[Me4] Jamie Dupree lost his ability to talk, sort of, but may nonetheless have a continued career in radio.

[Me5] Everyday folks may understand the newsmedia better than journalists think.

[Me6] As with mass shooting, the media needs to be careful about how it covers suicide. {More}

[Me7] The Fake News campaign heads to Mexico as their election approaches.

[Me8] Does it matter if the iconic photo of the family separation story doesn’t actually apply? My view is that it doesn’t undermine the story as a whole, but it shouldn’t be used to depict the story anymore.

[Me9] Sarah Ellison looks into the history between Donald Trump and the National Enquirer.


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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

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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