Links 3/14/19

Links for you. Science:

NIH queries on foreign ties rattle universities (potentially explosive)
She Invented a Board Game With Scientific Integrity. It’s Taking Off.
Buffalo gave us spicy wings and the ‘book of life.’ Here’s why that’s undermining personalized medicine
What are the reasons we have for dropping the GRE?
Against Willpower


War Happens in Dark Places, Too
How Lobbying Has Changed in Donald Trump’s Washington
SXSWarren: A day later, Elizabeth Warren defends her Big Tech breakup proposal
NYT’s Exposé on the Lies About Burning Aid Trucks in Venezuela Shows How U.S. Government and Media Spread Pro-War Propaganda
Footage Contradicts U.S. Claim That Nicolás Maduro Burned Aid Convoy
‘Court packing’ ideas get attention from Democrats
The Experts Keep Getting the Economy Wrong
Clean House to Survive? Museums Confront Their Crowded Basements
Spectacle and scandal as the business model
Jack Evans used to be a sure bet at election time, but a federal probe makes his political future uncertain
Medicare for All (the Perplexed)
How the U.S.-Russian Relationship Went Bad
‘A major player’: Sanders gets props from the Democratic establishment
1967 Map of Unbuilt D.C. Highways (D.C. was very fortunate to avoid many of these)
DC Fiscal Policy Institute Urges Mayor to Invest $200 Million In the Housing Production Trust Fund
D.C. Council Strikes Death Blow To Gas-Powered Leaf Blowers
Get Off My Lawn
Adolph Reed’s 1996 assessment of Obama, shortly after the latter won his first Illinois state senate race (ouch)
Democratic wins in 2020 won’t change much if Mitch McConnell saves the filibuster
Our property tax system rewards neglect and punishes investment in struggling neighborhoods
On the death of my family’s dairy farm

Posted in Lotsa Links | Leave a comment

Why I Am Pessimistic About Global Warming Progress

Maybe it’s the jumping forward due to Daylight Saving Time still kicking in, but the problem in combating global warming is that the ‘zipless fuck’ solutions aren’t enough. Weatherizing your house and driving an electric vehicle aren’t enough. We’ll outsource this to Greta Moran at Grist (boldface mine):

Get rid of all the country’s coal plants, run the country purely on renewables, and we’ll still be left with the top source of greenhouse gas emissions: transportation.

Carbon-belching cars, trucks, and planes are now the greatest source of U.S. carbon emissions, a title held by power generation until 2017. It’s a sprawling problem that accounts for more than a quarter of yearly greenhouse gases.

Our transportation system is designed for long, interstate road trips; climate change isn’t a consideration. At least one critic has said the Green New Deal’s biggest failing is that it doesn’t address the country’s sprawl

We need more low-carbon trains, buses, and subways.

Putting more dollars into light rail systems, buses, and the like would obviously help get cars off the road. Arroyo noted that cities and states are leading the way on this, designing “complete streets” that are safer for pedestrians and bikers, and putting caps on greenhouse gas emissions. She highlighted California’s cap-and-trade program, which includes transportation, and the nine mid-Atlantic states that have developed collective transportation caps on emissions.

Arroyo said that the federal government should also help local governments by increasing federal matching funds for public transit systems. At the moment, the federal government matches 80 percent of local money spent on highways, but just 50 percent for public transit projects.

I think the problem is more severe than this: right now, in most cities–not metro areas, but actual cities–it is still far too difficult to improve housing policy and transit policy in the very places where it’s relatively easy to do so. As I chronicle routinely on this blog, mass transit is in sorry shape in the U.S. At the same time, cities still have too many obstacles to building more housing, and these obstacles are local, state, and federal. Worse, the feedback between transportation and housing isn’t exploited nearly enough. As some asshole with a blog has noted, the urban housing crisis is intertwined with the mass transit crisis.

If we can’t transform a city, it’s not clear to me how we’re going to we’re going to transform the rest of the country. A serious response does require that transformation (boldface mine):

Dense cities are green. The way to save nature is to stay the hell away from it. Automobile transportation is a huge driver of emissions and that is not compatible with “I want to live in the middle of nowhere with nature because nature is good.” Detached homes are more expensive to heat and cool. Large homes are more expensive to heat and cool. The entire country doesn’t have to look like Manhattan, but people should get that we’d get a lot closer to saving the world if it did.

I don’t know if U.S.-ians are ready for this at all–or if our political system will be able to respond.

Posted in Global Warming, Housing, Transportation | Leave a comment

Links 3/13/19

Links for you. Science:

Trump’s new science adviser says it’s not his job to correct the president on climate change
Multi-state study of Enterobacteriaceae harboring extended-spectrum beta-lactamase and carbapenemase genes in U.S. drinking water
Rand Paul is wrong: Vaccines are no threat to liberty
The Big Number: Just 20 seconds of hand washing can help you avoid the flu
How to make it through the rest of cold and flu season without getting sick


Democrats Push to Make Washington, D.C., the Fifty-first State
Bill Black Analyzes Brad DeLong’s Stunning Concession: Neoliberals Should Pass the Baton and Let the Left Lead
In a booming state, public schools grapple with asbestos, leaks and four-day weeks
Remember that paper we wrote, The mythical swing voter? About shifts in the polls being explainable by differential nonresponse? Mark Palko beat us to this idea, by 4 years.
Charter School Cap Efforts Gain Momentum
Amid the opioid crisis, a different drug comes roaring back
Got to Be Real
Elizabeth Warren pulled a ninja move to turn tech angst into a crackdown with real teeth, and tech is going to suffer even if she’s not president
Wealth Inequality Across Class and Race in 5 Graphs
The Democratic Party Needs Ilhan Omar
The ‘Self-Made Billionaire’ Is A Lie
Her ancestors were enslaved in the U.S. Now a Trump decision could lead to her deportation to Africa.
I want to talk about how the social media theatre around apologies and forgiveness is directly at odds with my ability to grow and thrive as a jew who takes ethical mitzvot DEEPLY seriously.
Bill de Blasio Try Riding the Subway EVERY Day You Tall Chauffeured Clown!
Tax collectors chase rich New Yorkers moving to low-tax states. Auditors inspect cell records, even your dog’s vet bills
Karen Bradley’s ‘mistake’ was more than ignorance – it reveals the political class’s disregard for Irish life
Sex trafficking is in plain sight in Massachusetts communities
The Mar-a-Lago Connection to the Cindy Yang Affair Raises Huge Security Risks
Think the Netanyahu corruption allegations will change Israel? Think again.

Posted in Lotsa Links | Leave a comment

When He Tweets, He Is Deflecting

And you can probably figure out who “he” is. Yesterday, Il Trumpe, in response to another 737 MAX crash, tweeted something ridiculous about how hard planes are to fly. But remember, whenever he tweets something, he’s usually either projecting or deflecting. Today in deflection (boldface mine):

Straightforward safety upgrades to the jets’ software to fix the automated safety feature, were originally expected in January according to multiple reports. But they were delayed until April, the Wall Street Journal reported Feb. 10, because of “engineering challenges,” “differences of opinion” between federal and Boeing officials, and the 35-day government shutdown, during which “consideration of the fixes was suspended.”

…Donald Trump forced the shutdown after refusing to sign a government spending bill that didn’t have billions he wanted to build a wall on the US southern border. After 35 days, he signed a spending package that didn’t have the budget, then declared a “national emergency” to get the funds from the Pentagon instead. Warnings about the Transportation Security Administration and the FAA being stretched too thin during the shutdown brought the political situation to a head.

The 61,000-member pilots association warned Trump of the dangers in a letter on Jan. 2, noting specifically that complicated oversight of manufacturing activities had stopped or were “significantly reduced”

Despite conservatives’ and President Drunk Jerk At The End Of The Bar’s bleatings, government employees actually do stuff, and when they don’t do it, bad things can happen.

But we need wall.

Posted in Conservatives, Fucking Morons | Leave a comment

Links 3/12/19

Links for you. Science:

Warming oceans have already harmed the world’s fish supply
When, and why, the ecology faculty job market first got so competitive (blame Paul Volcker)
14-foot fish spotted in river, giving hope to vanished giant’s return
Chimpanzees Are Going Through a Tragic Loss
The nightmarish tale of what happened to a child who wasn’t vaccinated


Yes, Let’s Defeat or Impeach Donald Trump. But What If He Refuses to Leave the White House?
I Support Strong Women of Color Unless They Are Politically to My Left
Mark Meadows and the gerrymandered district: How Republicans ‘cracked’ the liberal city of Asheville — and elected a right-wing buffoon
Dems Too Smart, GOP Too Stoopid
Libertarians have more in common with the alt-right than they want you to think
Fox News’s propaganda isn’t just unethical — research shows it’s enormously influential
The Clock Runs Down on Mainstream Keynesianism
The Failures of Neoliberalism Are Bigger Than Politics
American Family Act Still Has Serious Design Flaws
Leaked Chats Reveal White Nationalist Plot To Keep Steve King In Office
In 1998, I helped convict two men of murder. I’ve regretted it ever since.
I’m an OB/GYN and infanticide is not part of abortion care. Here’s why.
It’s time — high time — to take Fox News’s destructive role in America seriously
One of Theranos’ first investors has learned approximately nothing from its implosion
A Florida Massage Parlor Owner Has Been Selling Chinese Execs Access to Trump at Mar-a-Lago (this is worse than anything Bill Clinton ever did, and he was pretty damn sleazy)
Darker days may lie ahead for Jack Evans
HR1: Smell the fear
My Jibo Is Dying and It’s Breaking My Heart
The more we learn about Brexit, the more crooked it looks
The military has a white-power problem

Posted in Lotsa Links | Leave a comment

Once Again, The Trump Administration Takes The Ax To Science Funding

It’s a day that ends with “-y”, so you know the Trump Administration will propose something horrible. Today, it’s massive cuts in the discretionary budget–which includes science (boldface mine):

The deficit would also persist despite the administration’s plans for steep cuts in discretionary programs outside of the Defense Department. In an op-ed last month, Acting Budget Director Russ Vought said the administration will seek a 5 percent cut to all other federal agencies.

But his piece left unclear whether those cuts would be based off current spending levels or some other amount. The administration official said the 5 percent cut would be calculated from the cap on spending for this fiscal year.

The spending limit — also known as the sequester — is part of the Budget Control Act. According to the official, the spending reductions in Trump’s budget will allow them to hit the sequester levels for fiscal year 2020. If Congress does not vote to lift the spending caps, the sequester will automatically take effect.

In his op-ed, Vought said the White House will preserve defense funding by funneling money into an account for overseas contingency operations, which is not covered by the spending caps. The new money is expected to total close to $174 billion — more than double the current tally, according to sources.

As best as I’m able to tell, it looks like the proposed NIH budget would be cut by over $4 billion, to about $33 billion and change (pdf; p. 437 – 438; page numbers refer to pdf page, not document page). AHRQ would be moved into NIH, and have its budget cut by around 25 percent. NSF would also see about a 25% cut (p. 1096).

Admittedly, Congress never liked any of Il Trumpe’s deep cuts–or any cuts–to science funding. With Democrats in control of the House, it’s probably dead on arrival. What’s galling are the values on display: tax cuts for the rich, combined with a carve out for war spending. Given that the ‘overseas contingency operations’ account would be double what we actually spend overseas, it’s a slush fund, and one more way Congress could abdicate its responsibility to oversee spending.

Like I said, it won’t happen, but this Republican administration is awful. While we’re here, how about we also get some Democrats on record about where they stand on artificially imposed austerity through the Budget Control Act? Letting it expire a quiet death in 2021 would be a good thing.

Posted in Conservatives, Funding, NIH, NSF | Leave a comment

Links 3/11/19

Links for you. Science:

Medieval Diseases Are Infecting California’s Homeless
Solving the Mystery of an Ancient Roman Plague
Of Course Scott Pruitt’s EPA Stopped NASA From Studying Cancer Risk After Hurricane Harvey
Vaccines For Kids? New D.C. Bill Would Allow Minors To Get Shots Without Parental Consent
WWF’s Secret War: One Of The World’s Biggest Charities Funds Guards Who Have Tortured And Killed People


Trump cheered Patriots to Super Bowl victory with founder of spa where Kraft was busted (related: China provisionally grants Trump 38 trademarks – including for escort service)
Americans have every right to be furious over Manafort’s sentence
Students at elite Sidwell Friends projected swastikas during assembly
House Democrats are afraid to investigate Trump’s family. They are mistaken.
More Subpoenas in the Jack Evans Probe
Elizabeth Warren: Here’s how we can break up Big Tech
Keep It Up, Ilhan Omar: Neither Hamas nor a black day, but a glimmer of hope on Capitol Hill
History’s Lesson for Democrats: Don’t Be Afraid of Economic Experiments
Democrats Are Afraid of Investigating Don Jr. Because He’s So Relatable and Well-Liked
The Stark Traffic Safety Divide
Paul Manafort’s Sentencing Isn’t a Moment of Closure
Can the US Treasury Run Out of Money When the US Government Can’t?
Mark Zuckerberg’s vision for Facebook sounds a lot like China, where I couldn’t buy a cup of coffee without the app that dominates people’s lives there
David Brooks’ Support of Reparations Gets One Thing Incredibly Wrong
Elections have consequences—House just passed an ‘Ivanka amendment’ to close an ethics loophole
Democrats Refusing to Give Fox News a Debate Is Not a First Amendment Issue. This is a First Amendment Issue.
Charter schools exploit lucrative loophole that would be easy to close
The People Who Eat the Same Meal Every Day
Combat mercenaries for Trump
Zuckerberg’s So-Called Shift Toward Privacy

Posted in Lotsa Links | Leave a comment