Links 5/24/15

Links for you. Science:

Why an iron fish can make you stronger
Gender And The Harvard Math Department
Author retracts study of changing minds on same-sex marriage after colleague admits data were faked (great work by the whistleblowers)
To handle big data, shrink it
Potential flaws in genomics paper scrutinized on Twitter: Reanalysis of a study that compared gene expression in mice and humans tests social media as a forum for discussing research results. (Sweet Baby Intelligent Designer, it was a critique; it’s not like the authors were called douchebags or something)


Rape Kits: A Decade and A Billion Dollars Later, Why Can’t We Fix the Backlog?
One Reason Why America is in Decline (“Mom, no, I’m not going for an MBA. I’m getting my degree in microbiology.”)
This Texas senator blamed Baltimore uprising on absentee dads but goes silent on Waco bloodbath
Throwing The Pamphlet At Them: Crimes Without Criminals. In which we are amazed at how many crimes are committed by bank buildings.
You Reeka Math
Researchers find food assistance program is linked with better mental health
Cheney Thought Al Qaeda Was Bluffing
How many slave deaths for the Qatar World Cup can Fifa put up with? (62 deaths per game; I think the ancient pharaohs were kinder)
The Highest-Paying Jobs Of The Future Will Eat Your Life: In the future, highly skilled people will be bringing home fatter paychecks, but they’ll rarely be home long enough to spend them.
Where the sidewalk ends
Bernie Sanders can’t win: Why the press loves to hate underdogs
The Benedict Option: Why the religious right is considering an all-out withdrawal from politics (don’t let the door hit your ass on the way out)
The medieval ‘New England': a forgotten Anglo-Saxon colony on the north-eastern Black Sea coast
This video by a Columbia University neuroscientist​ might be the best case against the drug war ever made
How the DEA Harasses Amtrak Passengers: A mathematician describes how his rights were apparently violated during a trip to Washington, D.C.
The surprising links between faith and evolution and climate denial — charted

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White Roses

Observed at the corner of 15th and S Streets, Dupont Circle, D.C.:

White roses

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On Duggars and Technicalities

One of the common cultural tropes of the late 1970s and 1980s was the idea that criminals were getting away with crime due to ‘technicalities.’ This notion permeated popular culture–it was essentially a mandatory plot line in any police or crime drama.

Conservatives loved to use the technicalities argument to bash liberals, along with those damn librul judges, and to claim that liberals were ‘soft on crime.’ So when I read this horrific story about one of the Duggars having been a serial molester when he was a juvenile, this part leapt out at me (boldface mine):

Josh Duggar has apologized after In Touch Weekly revealed on Thursday that he was investigated by police for allegedly touching five girls — including some of his family members — on multiple occasions dating back to 2002….

Now 27 years of age, Josh appears to have escaped prosecution thanks to a three-year statute of limitations.

“A technicality prevented any further action,” a source told In Touch Weekly. “That’s been the biggest regret in all of this.”

Can’t really blame liberal judges and the ACLU for this.

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Links 5/23/15

Links for you. Science:

Stop Saying Humans Are Like ‘Slowly Boiling Frogs’
A call for acceptance of career polygamy in science (excellent)
Scientist: Why Deepak Chopra is driving me crazy
U.S. Details New Efforts to Support Ailing Bees
American Innovation Lies on Weak Foundation


The second job you don’t know you have (excellent)
I’ve Read Obama’s Secret Trade Deal. Elizabeth Warren Is Right to Be Concerned. (as I noted, given how good it seems to be for Massachusetts biotech, it must be dreadful for her to oppose it)
The TPP and the Incredible Hulk Theory of International Relations
Artwork valued at more than $600,000 missing at Boston Public Library
What does ObamaCare have to do with postal banking?
The Left Matters – Now, More Than Ever
The Right and Wrong Questions About the Iraq War
What Hollywood’s Acceptance Of Sexism Looks Like In Practice
THE DUMBNESS OF THE WHALE: Information drowned in the deep!
More on the Myth of Outsourcing’s Efficiency
Good fortune, dire poverty, and inequality in Baltimore: An American story
Probing Islamic State’s sex atrocities with the United Nations
George W. Bush didn’t just lie about the Iraq War. What he did was much worse.
Alcee Hastings is right: Members of Congress have too much money, but Congress is underpaid
Lifelong Republican Turns On His Party, Embraces Obamacare
The future of wind power may not have blades at all
Teacher assails practice of giving passing grades to failing students

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Peeking Through

Observed at Dupont Circle, D.C.:


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A Public Health Question About the Bird Influenza Epidemic

You might not be aware of a massive bird flu epidemic ripping its way across the U.S.:

Iowa, where one in every five eggs consumed in the country is laid, has been the hardest hit: More than 40 percent of its egg-laying hens are dead or dying. Many are in this region, where barns house up to half a million birds in cages stacked to the rafters. The high density of these egg farms helps to explain why the flu, which can kill 90 percent or more of a flock within 48 hours, is decimating more birds in Iowa than in other states…

About 90 percent of the more than 25 million chickens that are being destroyed in Iowa produced liquid eggs, and already the wholesale price for those eggs nationwide has nearly doubled from late April. It hit $1.23 a dozen on Wednesday, up from 63 cents a dozen on April 22, according to Rick Brown, executive vice president and an egg specialist at Urner Barry, a market research publisher. The federal Department of Agriculture’s weekly report, however, was more cautious in its estimates of rising shell egg prices, but suggested that sharp increases for liquid eggs may be in the offing.

Major companies that use liquid eggs have started to warn that they may run short, which will impede sales and raise prices for products like cake mixes and ice cream. Nestlé, for instance, which makes Dreyer’s, Edy’s and Häagen-Dazs ice creams, as well as other products that incorporate eggs, said it had been discussing its options.

While the economic consequences are severe, there’s a public health issue as well. Both the MMR (measles-mumps-rubella) vaccines and the influenza vaccines are made with eggs (there are non-egg based versions of the flu vaccine, but the majority of the vaccine doses is derived from eggs). And not just any eggs can be used–there are regulations about potential exposure to pathogens*. You’re not getting the ‘vaccine eggs’ from the grocery store. We need about three eggs to make one dose of flu vaccine (I haven’t been able to find information about the MMR vaccine), but we’re looking at a total greater than a billion eggs per year (and remember, these eggs are special).

So does anyone know if our ‘vaccine egg’ supply is safe?

*The flocks are “specific-pathogen-free (SPF) closed flocks”, where “closed” means a genetically quantified (no new introduction of breeding stock) flock (pdf).

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Links 5/22/15

Links for you. Science:

Tiny Frogs and Giant Spiders: Best of Friends
Evolution, the Environment, and Religion
Everybody Else Is Doing It…
How Three Scientists ‘Marketed’ Neglected Tropical Diseases And Raised More Than $1 Billion
Highly Contagious, Antibiotic-Resistant Food Poisoning Establishes U.S. Presence (wrote about this here)


How a Fish Sandwich Became a Symbol of Shaw’s Changes: Fishnet’s $12 sandwich reminded its owner of his youth in Turkey. It reminded longtime residents of something else. (very interesting)
Squaring The Circular Firing Squad
Notes on the [UK] election
Why Radicals Like Bernie Sanders Should Run As Democrats, Not Independents
Go ahead, tick off the Saudis (and the Israelis, too)
What Do Rich Countries Have in Common? Big Government
No, the GOP Has Not Lost Its Lust for War
How D.C. pot legalization has become ‘the dealer-protection act of 2015’
In early power struggle with council, D.C. mayor could win battle, lose war
Consuming wealth without spending a dime
Assault on Justice
Why your cubicle should become your bedroom in D.C.
The In-State Tuition Break, Slowly Disappearing
The bad math
DCPS’ Biggest Challenge, in One Chart
Stopping some military equipment transfers to police is a start, but only a start

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