Photo of the day

I’m reading Eric Schlosser’s fascinating book Command and Control, on the history of the US nuclear arsenal.  It’s actually kind of amazing we haven’t had an actual accidental nuclear explosion.  We’ve come so damn close far too many times.  I first found out about the book when Schlosser was on Dianne Rehm.  So many interesting tidbits and anecdotes.  So far, though, I’ve been most taken by the idea that the US deployed a 50 lb short-range nuclear weapon to be used in a ground war in Europe.  It was dubbed the Davy Crockett.  And here’s a video of it’s testing:

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Photo of the day

From In Focus photos of the week.  You know I’m a sucker for photos like this:

Jorge, an immigrant from Mexico, dressed as the Sesame Street character Elmo, rests in Times Square, New York, on July 29, 2014. Elmo and Cookie Monster have long delighted young viewers on TV’s “Sesame Street,” but recent antics of New York street performers dressed as the beloved characters have drawn the ire of city officials and now the show’s producers. Sesame Workshop, which owns the rights to Big Bird, Ernie and the assorted puppet monsters on the 45-year-old program, said on July 29, 2014 it was drafting plans to stop unauthorized performers who dress up as the characters from appearing in Times Square, where they pose for photos with tourists and then demand tips. (Reuters/Eduardo Munoz)

How money polarizes politics in chart form

Hey, that’s me!  Via TPM:

Quick hits (part II)

1) Fist bumps and high fives spread way less germs than a handshake.  Will we all be fist-bumping each other some day?

2) The present and future of marriage in America.

3) Gender differences in cognition:

Though everyone saw improvements over time, the women did so more dramatically. The gains in smarts coincided with better living conditions, as measured by gross domestic product (GDP), fertility rate, health indicators such as mortality rate, and educational opportunities, the researchers found.

Because women’s better performance coincided with higher levels of societal development across different regions and cohorts, the results suggest that improved living conditions have benefited women more than men. But the scientists aren’t sure whether that trend will continue into the future, as women simply may be “catching up” after starting from further behind, Herlitz said.

4) Were dinosaurs wiped out by bad luck?  Love this bit:

I asked Dr Brusatte: “Could dinosaur you and dinosaur me be having this conversation, instead?” …

“As far as dinosaurs becoming intelligent is concerned the experiment has been done and we call them crows,” he told BBC News.

5) So do not like tattoos.  But I found this video that explains how their permancence to be a function of a complicated interplay with the human immune system to be quite fascinating.

6) Olberman on the NFL, gender, and Ray Rice.  Good stuff.

7) Talk about reverse causality… in many African villages people are thinking that doctors are bringing the Ebola virus with them ans spreading it rather than responding to outbreaks.  Not good.  Also not good– the fact that so many doctors and nurses seem to be getting sick this go round.  Presumably, we are dealing with a newer, more virulent strain of Ebola, but I haven’t read anything good on that yet.

8) Five sort of myths about the gender pay gap.

9) Yet more evidence on the amazing benefits of even a small amount of high-intensity exercise.  You know what also has a great benefit?  Moderate-intensity running for even a few minutes a day.   This part is something:

Remarkably, these benefits were about the same no matter how much or little people ran. Those who hit the paths for 150 minutes or more a week, or who were particularly speedy, clipping off six-minute miles or better, lived longer than those who didn’t run. But they didn’t live significantly longer those who ran the least, including people running as little as five or 10 minutes a day at a leisurely pace of 10 minutes a mile or slower.

Wow!  I run somewhere between 9-10 minute miles (doesn’t feel “leisurely” to me).  Sometimes I feel guilty about not pushing myself harder, but no more!

10) Seth Masket on why political science is science:

Political science is a science. Political scientists come in a variety of flavors, but basically we’re in the business of proposing theories about the way the political world works, testing those theories with some kind of data, subjecting our findings to a peer-review process, and hopefully publishing those findings so that others can confirm or refute what we’ve done. And our understanding of the political world has improved substantially over the past century using this approach. (See Hans Noel’s article for some great examples, and see Julia Azari on Twitter for some more schooling.) That is science.

11) The human evolutionary biology of being politically conservative.

12) Apparently, at Fort Bragg they show way too much deference to officers in matters of safety.  Interesting story of how this led to a Colonel plummeting to his death in a failed parachute jump.

13) I love stuff like this– the ages at which hockey players at different positions have their best performance (interestingly, age seems to make the least difference for goalies).

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