Links 1/2/16

Links for you. Science:

Rare Footage Shows Giant Squid Cruising Through A Harbor
Can electric signals in Earth’s atmosphere predict earthquakes?
The fine line between quality improvement and medical research (must-read)
Elizabeth Holmes’s blood-testing ambition has long collided with technological problems
With everyone away for the holidays, now’s the time to get science done

Other:

THE BARBARISM OF CHARTERISM: NEW YEAR, NEW THEATER IN THE WAR OVER CORPORATE ED REFORM IN MASS
Ban cars (interesting)
Why I Don’t Do Kwaanza
Don’t cut back the National Zoo’s hours (one more, albeit small, reason why D.C. needs voting representation in Congress)
Beheading of third-grade girl ‘was just the spark’ for Afghan minority group
The Tamir Rice Shooting Reveals the Darkness at the Heart of Open Carry Laws
Why are low-income high achievers so underrepresented at elite schools?
Obama’s skin looks a little different in these GOP campaign ads
From “A New Hope” to no hope at all: “Star Wars,” Tolkien and the sinister and depressing reality of expanded universes (Star Wars spoilers, but very good)
For the Wealthiest, a Private Tax System That Saves Them Billions
Reading Everything Aaron Swartz Wrote
Lethal Force as First Resort
One reason for high drug prices: a huge backlog of unapproved generic drugs
This news from France will help you understand just what a raw deal Americans get with health care.
Sanders Would Dominate Money Race With Small Donor Matching Funds

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1 Response to Links 1/2/16

  1. For that Star Wars / Tolkein article: It’s interesting how Tolkein’s theology works with Hollywood’s sequel demands here. Tolkein’s world was one where nothing could ever get better in the long run because that’s what he believed of the real world as well. That we were the poor degraded remnants of a lost paradise, doomed to decay until the end of the world. Endless repeats of the same genocidal war make sense in that context.

    The reality that the world now is far better than it was a generation ago, which in turn was far better than a generation before that, doesn’t really sink in.

    It wouldn’t be very realistic for Star Wars to have all evil defeated in one fell swoop and everyone live happily ever after. But the optimistic sequel would be wars that smaller and smaller in a world that gets gradually safer. They could have made a movie like this… in face, they very nearly did. The Kylo character works just fine as a less scary, less dangerous copy of Darth Vader. And the resistance works just fine as a Rebellion in a slightly better position, with just a little more resources at their disposal, in a world where there is a little more civilization clawed back from the wilderness.

    But Hollywood demands that each successive enemy get bigger an meaner, so they had to build an even worse superweapon and hurt even more people. How else could you show off the improved special effects?

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