Mega quick hits (part II)

1) The case for delayed adulthood.  Given what we now know about brain maturation, there’s something to be said for this.

2) Joe Nocera on the absurdity of how cavalier credit card companies and retailers are with our data.  And a great example of why we often need government to get involved:

For years, the banks and the retail industry have spent more time accusing each other of causing the problem than seeking a solution. By October 2015, the United States is supposed to move to a more secure card system, using a chip and P.I.N. instead of a magnetic stripe, as Europe did years ago. But even that won’t put an end to data breaches. It will make it harder and more expensive for criminals to crack, but not impossible.

Which is why the federal government needs to get involved. With the banks and retailers at loggerheads, only the government has the ability to force a solution — or at least make it painful enough for companies with lax security to improve.

3) People without kids fare better on all sorts of measures, except one.

4) Arizona voters passed a referendum to take the politics out of redistricting.  Sadly, the Arizona Republican Party is suing to put politics back in.

5) Fun facts about the original Star Trek.

6) Nice essay from a science-oriented mom of a child with autism on the vaccine-autism non-link.

7) Didn’t know anything about Arkansas Republican Senate candidate Tom Cotton before reading this profile.  Found it utterly fascinating.  And scary.

8) Cool experiment showing your brain actually making decisions while you sleep.

9) There’s not really any good reason at all for conservatives to oppose federal loans for students at community colleges.  Of course, they oppose this anyway.

10) We need to publish more replication research and studies with null results.

11) Thanks to Derek for sharing this thought-provoking piece on visiting a cattle feedlot written by a vegan nutritionist:

And, I have to say it.  If my experience at Magnum is representative of other cattle farms, all those accounts of the dismal, depressing, disastrous cattle conditions seem to be exaggerated.

No, I’m not going to start eating meat again.

However, if I did eat meat, my visit to Magnum would have made me feel great about eating non-organic, non-grass-fed beef.   Seriously.  I can’t imagine the quality of meat would be substantially better with organic and grass-fed.  Nor can I imagine the living conditions would be substantially better for the cattle.

12) Perhaps the best piece I’ve read on the current Ebola crisis.   And Vox points out that pretty much no disease ever has gone from body-fluid transmission to airborne so there’s really no reason to think Ebola will.

13) Enjoyed this Wonkblog piece on how restaurants are cutting back the size of their menus, but it didn’t quite have me convinced on the reasons why.  Drum, convinved me, though:

Hmmm. Let me say, based on precisely no evidence, that I find this unlikely. Have American tastes really gotten more refined since 2008? Color me skeptical. And even if American palates are more discriminating, are we seriously suggesting that this has affected the menu length at IHOP, Tony Roma’s, and Olive Garden—the three examples cited in the article? I hope this isn’t just my inner elitist showing, but I don’t normally associate those fine establishments with a “growing appetite for exotic foods and a willingness to seek out specialized cuisines.”

So, anyway, put me down firmly in the cost-cutting camp. Long menus got too expensive to support, and when the Great Recession hit, casual dining chains needed to cut costs. They did this by lopping off dishes that were either expensive to prep or not very popular or both. Occam’s Razor, my friends, Occam’s Razor.

Yeah, Occam’s Razor!  Which, I actually explaned to my 8-year old yesterday.

14) There’s been a bit of a “nerdwar” of late with election prediction.  Wonderful rejoinder to the whole thing from Hans Noel:

So we can’t learn very much about the models from Election Day. We learn a little, but only as much as we learn from any one election, which is not much. But I guarantee you someone will claim otherwise. Which is why I’m not interested in predicting the future. It leads people to say the least interesting things.

15) A number of high profile reports this week on the fact that Chimpanzees regularly murder their own species.  This is not news!  I remember learning about this in college 20+ years ago.  Yes, there has been some scientific debate about the issue, but based on the headlines I’ve seen this week you would think scientists had somehow just discovered this behavior.

16) The latest college arms race?  Who can build a better water park for their students.  Seriously.  The winner?  Texas Tech.  This place makes me wish I was still there!

17) So, this is really cool.  One of my good friends from middle and high school was permanently disabled (paraplegic) in a car accident when we were 16.  His wife is a writer and just had her essay about their life together in the NYT (the main point is that she’s the more disabled one–oh, and she really likes writing about sex).

More reason it’s bad to be poor

No sleep till Brooklyn:

sleep

The article has a nice look at the time-based difficulties of living in poverty.

Quick hits (part II)

1) Trying to fight against illegal logging in the Amazon can be a deadly vocation.

2) Another great example of bureaucrats run amok: a 12-year old piano prodigy who misses school for international piano competitions is treated as an every day truant.  Frustrating that people so short-sighted and stupid are in a position to be making these decisions.

3) Probably not a good idea to pose with a statue of Jesus fellating you.  That said, the idea that somebody should go to prison for this is beyond absurd.

4) How failing tests helps you learn.

5) Really nice Vox piece on Obama and the (expanding) nature of presidential power.

6) During all the US Open coverage I kept hearing about the “Big Four” of men’s tennis and couldn’t’ help but think Andy Murray isn’t really in the same league as the top 3.  Turns out I’m right, but then again nobody else is close to Murrary.

7) Making the best use of NC’s current early voting laws.

8) Nearly a quarter of Americans have less education than their parents.  The OECD average in only 16%.  That’s not good.

9) It’s tough times for cereal manufacturers.  Personally, I never ate breakfast till after college and then I started having cereal every morning.  I was all about Lucky Charms, Frosted Flakes, etc., and then after a few years I switched over to only whole grain cereals.  For many years I was all about Frosted Mini-wheats.  I still like to snack on them, but like to start my day with more protein so Kashi Go Lean mixed with the much more flavorful Go Lean Crunch starts off most days.

10) Fred Kaplan says that Obama has about the best plan you could expect for Isis.  But there’s still a good chance it will fail.

11) America’s higher education stagnation.

12) Latest polls looking good for Kay Hagan in NC and this is good news for Democrats and the Senate.

13) Dahlia Lithwick on how Voter ID laws may actually worsen voter fraud.

 

 

Map of the day

Declining cigarette sales (in animated gif form!) via BusinessInsider:

cigarette sales gif map

And a nice chart:

cigarette sales per capita

Interesting that the steep decline seems to be flattening out.  Floor effect?

Ray Rice in one sentence

The Onion so nails this:

NFL Announces New Zero-Tolerance Policy On Videotaped Domestic Violence

Quick hits (part I)

1) Nice piece from Emily Bazelon on the recent Texas abortion ruling.  Texas’ law is clearly and patently an “undue burden” (the key language fro 1992’s Casey v. Planned Parenthood and it’s nice to see a judge who gets this.

2) Totally fascinated by this NYT piece suggesting that the key role of sleep is to essentially clean out our brain of the toxins produced during normal brain metabolism.

3) Love this idea about paying for performance with kids’ chores.  If I ever actually start making my kids do enough chores (a parent fail on my part) I think I’ll adopt the approach outlined here.

4) Students pay too much for college and it’s Reagan’s fault.  Had not hear this argument before.

5) Love the unrepentant bike bandits caught on camera.  If I did own an expensive bike, I do think I would invest in a tracker.

6) Can a lawsuit about concussions force FIFA to create safer policies for players?  Let’s hope so.

7) Love this from Seth Masket: Michael Barone dislikes political scientists.  And google.

8) Regular readers know that fecal transplants rock.  Interesting story about a place that is the fecal sample equivalent of a blood bank and how government regulators still have not figured out how to best deal with the issue.  I’m quite convinced I’d be a great donor for OpenBiome, but you’ve got to live in Boston to deliver fresh samples.

9) Nice essay from Jill Lepore on indelible visuals from recent news events (i.e., Ferguson, beheadings).

10) The Vox headline says it all: the class war is over and the rich won.

11) There’s been revisions to the AP US History exam that have conservatives up in arms (apparently the exam recognizes that there’s plenty of ugliness in American history, especially for non-whites– I guess nobody told Fox News).  Looks pretty good to me and Jamelle Bouie.

Super Mega Labor Day Quick hits

Sorry to disappoint you with your long weekend reading, but between a PS conference and a family trip to Topsail Island, blogging has dropped in priority.  You might even want to space out your reading– I’ve been too lazy to break these up and blogging will still be slow while I catch back up to speed.  So, there’s a ton.

1) Definitely number for for me: Arsonist hits my hotel.  This was actually scary as hell as I was on the 8th floor and one emergency stair was choked with smoke and another was choked with people.  Fortunately, I did not go down the over-crowded one but found a third.

2) The four-word secret to seeming polite.  I’m so going to use this.

3) Boys interrupt and girls do not from an early age.  Apparently, Sarah has not been socialized into this gender role yet.

4) Loving the NYT coverage of the US Open even though I hardly watch tennis anymore.  On the dearth of quality among US Men’s tennis.  On the death of the one-handed backhand (hey, that’s what I used to use).

5) I never really liked the multiverse theory.

6) Yes, even academics should watch what they tweet.  At least if you plan on taking a job at a new institution.

7) Tennessee has been drug testing those seeking welfare benefits.  They are finding very low rates of drug use.

8) The great Civil War hoax (that I had never heard about).

9) Why college textbooks are so expensive.  I love the prescription drug analogy– I’ve used it many times myself.  I have no doubt faculty have to take price more seriously.

10) The Upshot on the blue state disapora.

11) Classic Onion headline (and so true in my experience): “GOP holds solid hold on youth that already look like old men.”

12) Our current drug czar is a recovering alcoholic and believes in focusing on health and treatment.  Hooray!

13) Vox does their own bit on the absurdity of HS start times.  Most interesting to me, apparently my own school system that educated me, Fairfax County, VA, is looking to change it’s start time.  25 years to late for me, but good for them.   And honestly, if a huge county with a high SES population and excellent school system can make this change, maybe they can be a trendsetter.  I sure hope so.

14) I learned from Nurtureshock years ago never to tell my kids their smart.  Still, liked this Khan Academy post on the matter.

15) Ozy on the invention of toilet paper.  Thank God– sure beats the previous alternatives.

16) The infamous monkey in the selife makes a statement.

17) Emily Bazelon on the rise of medical abortions.

18) Anybody who sexualizes innocent photos a father takes of his naked two year old is just sick.  Certainly not the father taking the photos.  These shots are so cute.  What’s wrong with people?!

19) In case you missed the story of the Hollywood producer being held for a bank robbery.  Oh, yeah, he was Black.

20) The Democrats’ plan for 2020.

21) The Ohio legislature versus science.  Ugh.

22) Nicholas Kristof says everyone is a little bit racist.  He’s right.  Of course, I’ve known that since grad school, but still a nice summary of some important social science.

23) Charter schools aren’t quite what they should be.

24) On the remaining sexism in Congress and the continuing difficulty faced by female politicians (this is going onto the next Gender & Politics syllabus).

25) How John Oliver’s awesome viral clips (many seen here) don’t exactly fit in with HBO’s standard business model.

26) Vox on the institutional racism of the war on drugs and the perverse incentives it provides to police forces.

27) Surely you heard the sad story of the eight-year old who accidentally shot her shooting instructor with a submachine gun on full automatic.  UVA poet Greg Orr reflects on how he accidentally shot and killed his brother as a child and the lasting trauma.  I really enjoyed seeing this because I remember when Orr came to read poetry at my HS and spoke of this incident.  Probably about the only guest speaker I remember from high school.

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