Map of the day

Via Amazing Maps.  Sunlight in US vs. Europe.  I’ll take the US.  (Note: clearly a type for the green color, presumably 1600-1800)

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Photo of the day

From National Geographic Tumblr:

Irish Guards remain at attention after one guardsman faints in London, England, June 1966.Photograph by James P. Blair, National Geographic

Irish Guards remain at attention after one guardsman faints in London, England, June 1966.PHOTOGRAPH BY JAMES P. BLAIR, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC

Deadly sugar?

A recent report on new research talking about how toxic sugar can potentially be to mice.  A great example or reading way too much into research with questionable implications for humans:

Sugar, even at moderate levels, could be toxic to your health — or at least to your sex life, a new study says.

Scientists at the University of Utah looked at how sugar affected mice and found that the mouse equivalent of just three sugary sodas a day had significant negative effects on life span and competition for mates…

Sugar-fed females died twice as quickly as control mice, which were fed the same total number of calories. While the sugar-fed males did not die more quickly, they had trouble competing against the control males for mates and were less likely to hold territory and reproduce…

About 80 percent of substances that are toxic in mice are toxic for people as well, said Potts, so it is likely that the effects of extra sugar could be similar in humans.

The results, on their face, suggest they are not applicable to humans.  When one considers the amount of sugar in the typical western diet compared to what happened to mice we’d all be dead by 20.  I’m perfectly willing to accept that excess sugar has potentially serious negative health consequences, but when you look at increasing life spans, etc., it is quite obvious that what happened to mice in this study is pretty much totally divorced from what may happen from human consumption of sugar.

Quick hits

1) Great article by Richard Hasen on the voting rights act and NC’s voter ID law.  I’m going to try and see about getting him to be a speaker at NCSU.

2) Environmental impact wise, you are better off driving a Hummer  and never flying than you are driving a Prius and taking a number of cross-country flights every year.

3) Rachel Maddow spent the whole show yesterday on NC and voting rights.  I almost never watch a whole Rachel Maddow segment, but I watched this whole video.  I also really liked the follow-up on voting in Watauga (home of ASU).

4) PPP polled Ohioans and this neutral audience overwhelming agrees that as far a university referred to as “Carolina,” North, not South, is the real Carolina.  Also, OH governor John Kasich does not look so good as a presidential candidate.  Oh, and 68% of Ohio residents are Buckeye fans.

5) Enjoyed this HuffPo piece on four ways college classes are different from high school.  I liked this part:

Whenever you’re talking to a professor, whether in person or via email, always present yourself as politely and professionally as possible — there’s lots of alliteration in that sentence, so you know it’s good advice. “All of my lecture professors were pretty well-respected in their fields, so there is an element of intimidation,” Alexandra Fen from Washington University in St. Louis says. This is not meant to scare you; it is just necessary to understand that professors a bit higher up on the totem pole, and it can be nerve-racking to approach them. Just make sure you address them with the proper title (i.e,. Professor or Dr. — check the syllabus), leave out the “um, like”s, make eye contact, smile, and you’re golden.

Seize the powers of office hours
All professors will have office hours, or scheduled slots of time when you can come see them outside of class to ask questions or talk. “I soon learned how important it was to go to office hours,” Sarah from University of Michigan says. “I can’t stress enough how helpful it was to form relationships with my professors and instructors.”

Office hours.  The ultimate under-utilized part of college life.  Also, I like respect (who doesn’t really), but I’m about the least intimidating person I know.  Maybe.

6) Enjoyed this riff from Tomasky a couple weeks back about how liberals should stop talking about “compassion.”  I think he’s right:

Liberals should stop talking about compassion. Oh, maybe not entirely. Some of the things Republicans are doing are just Dickensian mean, like cutting food stamps out of the farm bill, and Democrats should say that. But they should banish the word “compassion” from the broad, meta-economic dialogue.

What should they do instead? They should talk about how inequality is bad for the economy, bad for growth…Bad. For. Capitalism. Again, don’t take it from me. Take it from Bloomberg Business Week, among about a kajillion other sources I could link to. With wages in the middle basically flat (adjusted for inflation), as they have beensince the late 1970s, while wealth accumulated by not even the top 1 percent, but the top .1 percent has skyrocketed, you have an economy rife with inefficiencies.

In a similar way, at this point you are not going to persuade many people with the argument that access to affordable health care is a universal right.  Rather, the simple truth is that access to affordable health care is fabulously more efficient policy that ends up benefiting pretty much everyone.

7) Loved this Atlantic piece on the reality of government waste and fraud.  The key quote:

None of this was unique or unpredictable, however — because the problem with fraud isn’t government programs or beneficiaries. It’s that fraud losses are a cost of doing business in just about everything.

Yes, yes, yes!  I wish people would understand this.  As long as you’re dealing with humans, you will have “waste, fraud, and abuse” whether government or private sector.  Should we strive to limit it?  Of course.  But let’s not pretend this is some problem unique to government.

8) Liked this Justin Peters‘ post arguing that there’s really no such thing as a “consensual search” when it comes to a police encounter.  When a police officer asks you to do something, you don’t genuinely have freedom of action, even if you legally do:

But as Smith and her co-authors note, the results of the study still “show that judicial assumptions are flawed about the reactions of reasonable, innocent people during ‘consensual’ encounters with police.” This paper suggests, at least preliminarily, that the “consensual” police encounter is a fiction. And with more empirical research like this, maybe the courts will start rethinking consensual encounters, too.

9) Interesting look at abortion attitudes by region from NPR.

Regional disparities over the abortion issue have grown during the past two decades, leading to an ever widening gulf between the nation’s most conservative and most liberal regions.

A new Pew Research Center survey reports that an eight-state region — Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas, Texas and Oklahoma — has grown significantly more conservative when it comes to abortion, with opposition to legal abortion increasing by 12 percentage points since 1995-96. That’s the biggest jump of any region in the nation over that period.

The result is a much wider divide between the South Central states and the region at the other end of the spectrum, New England, where support for legal abortion grew by 5 percentage points between 1995-96 and 2012-13.

The two regions are now separated by a 35-percentage-point difference when it comes to views on legal abortion.

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