Links 7/1/15

Links for you. Science:

This Beetle Uses Its Poop as a Shield or Sword
What’s The Point Of Science Without ‘Eureka!’ Moments?
What’s really warming the world?
California’s Children Win, Anti-Vaxxers Lose
The Underfunded, Disorganized Plan to Save Earth from the Next Giant Asteroid


Living in L.A. Made Me Get Over My Body Issues
The five most frustrating things about Metro’s problems
After 14 years of watching Christie, a warning: He lies
Driven by Love or Ambition, Slipping Across the Color Line Through the Ages
A few blocks from the U.S. Capitol, a whole lot of people are getting high
Meet the Democrat in D.C. who is cutting taxes for the rich – and for everyone else (keep in mind that these cuts and increases are quite small)
A simple twist of fate
There’s a giant victim culture temper tantrum coming from the Christian right
Questions abound for new program that rewards teachers based on SAT and ACT scores
Why the Green Party’s Jill Stein Makes More Sense Than Republicans
Easy AA: The Supreme Court might destroy affirmative action because this white woman’s grades weren’t good enough.
I’m 28, I just quit my tech job, and I never want another job again
The Good News and the Bad News
Vision Zero D.C. (cool interactive map of where all the problems are)
Test Pilot Admits the F-35 Can’t Dogfight: New stealth fighter is dead meat in an air battle
We have been thinking about Internet harassment all wrong

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A Paragraph I Never Thought I Would Read

Feel the Bern:

For Louis Celli, at the American Legion, Sanders’s progressive views make some sense in the context of advocating for veterans’ programs. “Who better than a socialist to advocate for veterans’ health care?” he asked.

Pretty much Gog and Magog territory right there.

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Clinton Comes Out As a Deficit Hawk. This Is Not Good

One of the things the left, along with the kinda-left, is trying to figure out is whether Clinton is a neo-liberal at heart, or if she’s going to let her Inner Liberal bloom. Max Sawicky makes a very good point about Clinton’s campaign kickoff speech (boldface mine):

Several times HRC gives a shout-out to balanced budgets, even paying off the national debt. This is deeply wrong-headed economic policy, especially in the current period. Combined with her tax cut proposals, you have to wonder where any money for her spending initiatives would come from. It suggests she is under some delusion that the elimination of budget deficits under President Bill in the late 90s had something to do with the economic boom. For another view, see my friend Bob Pollin’s book, Contours of Descent.

The critique of the Republican economic policy appears to hinge on a bogus connection between the Bush tax cuts and the 2007-08 financial meltdown. Obama used to flog this horse too, as in “Well they cut taxes and look what happened.” This analysis glosses over the financial deregulation of the 90s in which Bill Clinton played no small part. It fundamentally misunderstands what happened to cause the financial system to blow up.

Any Democratic candidate who does not see the need in the current economy to engage in deficit spending either doesn’t understand what is needed or is too cowardly to fight for the right policy. Male* employment figures are still circling around the bowl. Keep in mind, the people who are still getting hit the hardest in this downturn are minority men, which should put some of the recent bold rhetoric on race in context: money talks, and, well, cost-free talk walks. As Sawikcy puts it, “I may be some kind of radical crackpot, but the points I make do not rely on any sort of radical economics.”

Something to consider in the ‘Who is the real Hillary’ discussions.

*Expectations of women and work are still more variable than men: men, aged 25 – 54, are expected to work, so lack of employment is almost entirely involuntary.

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Links 6/30/15

Links for you. Science:

Consumers of commercial genetic tests understand more than many believe
Cameroon lake cichlids probably did not speciate sympatrically: Part 1, Part 2
First Peoples: It’s Complicated
Coke vs. Pepsi: The E. coli Test
Malthusian Parameters as Estimators of the Fitness of Microbes: A Cautionary Tale about the Low Side of High Throughput


How the media spun the Tim Hunt story
Detroit: A Case Study of Oligarchs and Vigilantes Taking Over Public Safety in a Big City
The Supreme Court Decision Was a Win for LGBT Rights. Will Women Get the Same Treatment? Kennedy may be the most emotional judge on the Court, and this week that helped progress for LGBT people. But it could also hurt women.
‘It’s Time for Good Cops to Do Something About Bad Cops': What do law-and-order conservatives propose to do about abusive policing?
Childhood Trauma Can Destroy Your Health Decades Later, Yet America Ignores It
Lone Wolves and Soft Targets: Or how our Press, Politicians are being Played by ISIL
Rise of the ripped
Artificial Intelligence Machine Gets Testy With Its Programmer (thousands of years of technological progress and we are able to simulate a cranky thirteen year-old)
Kendall Square’s corporatization threatens its innovative culture
Bernie Sanders Was for Full Gay Equality 40 Years Ago
Hold it! Twitter ‘Shaming’ Serves a Purpose: ‘Victims’ so obnoxious they draw social media wrath? They’ve earned their hell.
On Jewish Dissent: It is not anti-Semitism, or the fear of it, that impels American Jews to disagree with Israel’s policies, but the policies themselves.
Lebanon Just Did a Whole Lot More Than Legalize Being Gay
World Jewish population nears pre-Holocaust level

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Observed at a D.C. area used bookstore:


Posted in Bullshit As a Load Bearing Structure | 7 Comments

National Security and U.S. Energy Infrastructure

It’s kind of sad that we can’t recognize the need for competent energy infrastructure without having to resort to national security justifications. On the other hand, that did get us some highways in the 1950s, so maybe this will work (boldface mine):

After devoting the first portion of the segment to the numerous places that lost power (including the White House and numerous Smithsonian museums) and the headaches that were caused, Jansing noted the reason for the outage: “What happened? The power company says all this caused by this, a transmission line fell off its foundation.”

While Jansing mentioned that the reason for the power outage was “a relatively small thing,” she added that it’s “pointing to a big problem.”

Following a soundbite from a Navy admiral with the U.S. Naval Command, Jansing began building the case for more funding:

We do know the U.S. electric grid loses power almost three times more often than it did in 1984. Much more than any other industrialized nation. Japan loses power an average of 4 minutes a year, but in the northeast U.S., 214 minutes, according to a University of Minnesota analysis and it just keeps getting worse. The main reasons? Aging infrastructure and increased demand from hotter summers, but now, experts worry about the growing cyber threat.

Jansing closed out her report by arguing that “there’s widespread agreement the power grid has to be updated and protected from cyber attacks” with the issue being the cost “as it often is in Washington.”

It’s worth noting that less than ten miles from the White House, electrical outages are a regular occurrence. Maybe appealing to national security will work because nothing else has so far.


Posted in Energy | 2 Comments

Links 6/29/15

Links for you. Science:

US Congress moves to block human-embryo editing
Why failing to understand evolution makes your NIH reform ideas suck (not how I would characterize evolution, but still very good)
It’s more than stamp collecting: how genome sequencing can unify biological research
The Grant Is Dead, Long Live the Grant
Males Are Overrepresented among Life Science Researchers Committing Scientific Misconduct


Last Battles
Scalia Is a Twitter Egg
Washington’s Strategy in Iraq Has Failed
Today’s Court Ruling, Though Expected, is Still Shocking — Especially for Those Who Grew Up LGBT in the U.S.
Congressional Democrats Introduce an Ambitious New Bill to Restore the Voting Rights Act
View from the left—sorry to inconvenience you, Mr. President, but…
Could This Be the Biggest Blow Yet to Uber’s Business Model?
Texas Board of Education to be headed by a homeschooler
Are Leftist, Feminist Kurds About to Deliver the Coup de Grâce to ISIL in Syria?
Republicans block research on gun violence, because knowledge might lead to action
A black man walks into Silicon Valley and tries to get a job…
Bernie Sanders on Obama’s “Biggest Mistake”
Sad Freaks of the Nation
Can v. Should
A Walk Through History: Places in New Orleans
June 25, 1876: In the Battle of Little Bighorn, Custer Makes His Last Stand

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